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TASP Scholarship winners! Congratulations!

posted Mar 26, 2012, 11:10 AM by Stephen Thompson   [ updated Mar 30, 2012, 5:32 AM ]
Congratulations to the following winners of the TASP Scholarship.  Many thanks to Tamara Jones and the committee for their work in reading and scoring applications! 

Educational Talent Search Winner


Joshua Davis has actively participated in East Tennessee State University’s Educational Talent Search program since the 6th grade and has always proven to be very determined and dedicated in all he undertakes.  Throughout his high school career, he has managed to maintain an impressive 4.0 grade point average while taking accelerated courses and dual enrollment courses as well as participating in many activities and serving as the captain of his school’s basketball team. He has the ability to pursue any career and has taken time to explore different careers throughout middle and high school.  After much research and consideration, he has narrowed his career decision to Orthopedic Medicine.  It was information, workshops, college tours and a host of other things offered by the Educational Talent Search program that equipped him with the personal and professional skills necessary to be successful in any task. He has a well developed plan for his education after high school.  In the fall, he plans to attend East Tennessee State University where he believes he will be molded into a productive citizen in his community.



High School: Sullivan East High School in Bluff City, Tennessee

Institution: East Tennessee State University

Director: Dr. Ronnie Gross

Nominator: Becky Stout, Assistant Director

TRIO Program: Educational Talent Search

Grade Point Average: 4.0

ACT Score: 29

Career Goal: Orthopedic Surgeon


Upward Bound Winner


Amanda Briest grew up in a military family, moving from city to city for most of her young childhood before settling in East Tennessee.  It was there that she began to mature, first by finding ways to help local middle school students and volunteering at an after school enrichment program.  Gradually, she learned finer organization and leadership skills.  Presently, she holds several leadership positions as Office of Secretary of the Student Council, Treasurer for her BETA Club, and she also holds the chair in her Pep Club’s Central Spirit.  She has been honored several times for her efforts throughout high school, including honors for her participation in the National French Contest Le Grad Concours, and by her appointment as a Junior Marshall.  Amanda plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2012, where she hopes to further her love of languages and science. 


High School: Unicoi County High School in Erwin, Tennessee

Institution: Tusculum College

Director: President Jeanne Stokes

Nominator: President Jeanne Stokes

TRIO Program: Upward Bound

Grade Point Average: 4.0

ACT Score: 34

Career Goal: International Affair with a focus in East Asian Studies


Student Support Services Winner


Dan Pak is a distinguished and accomplished student of Austin Peay State University, and a generous young woman of Clarksville, Tennessee. She assisted in ensuring patient safety and comfort at the Emergency and Surgical Department at Gateway Hospital in Clarksville, Tennessee. She has volunteered at the disability center at Austin Peay State University (APSU) serving as an academic assistant, and at the soup kitchen serving food to homeless people at the Pleasant Street Baptist Church.


One of her main accomplishments is conducting two and a half years of research on Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) at her undergraduate institution, APSU, and obtaining the Presidential Scholar Award in 2010. She received the Outstanding Junior Biology Student Award for the academic year, 2010-2011. In the summer of 2011, she studied the cause of breast cancer in the Summer Research Fellowship Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is currently the President of the Women’s Leadership Organization, and has served as the Historian for the Beta Beta Beta Honor Society for over two years. As a member of the university choir team, she brings an artistically polished performance of great choral works to the campus and to the community. She is an active TRiO SSS member who was selected as a peer mentor for the TRiO SSS technology bridge program for the academic year, 2012-2013. As a South Korean immigrant, TRIO SSS was crucial not only for a successful transition to college, but also to a new country.  Ms. Pak credits TRIO for bolstering her abilities to succeed beyond her expectation. 


Institution: Austin Peay State University    

Classification: Senior

Director: Marissa Chandler

Nominator: Marissa Chandler

TRIO Program: Student Support Service

Grade Point Average: 4.0

Career Goal: Anesthesiologist


Veteran's Upward Bound Winner

While serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps for twenty four years, Alan Koch attained his GED, received numerous awards and citations and advanced to the rank of Master Sergeant.  By nature Alan is a motivator, teacher, leader and most importantly a team player; these traits are demonstrated daily in educational, personal and professional life. Alan’s experience with the military and with Veterans Upward Bound taught him the importance of team work. It was a team effort on VUB’s part that got him into college.  Thus, he has carried this team mentality into his classroom experience where he strives to encourage younger students in group assignments as well as in independent study groups. According to Dr. Merritt, an Associate Professor at Northeast State Community College, Alan exemplifies three areas which are keys to success: dependability, leadership and teamwork. During Alan’s career in the military and in ministry, he has spent time in more than twenty countries around the globe.  His goal in life is to not only educate himself, but also to pass along that knowledge to help someone in the next generation to achieve success in life; he simply wants to pay it forward. 


In May of 2012, Alan plans to graduate with an Honors Associate degree from Northeast Tennessee Community College where he currently possesses a 4.0 grade point average. His future goal is to attend East Tennessee State University in the fall of 2012 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree then a Master’s in Seminary. This year Alan will celebrate many milestones in his life; college graduation, tenth year anniversary as Pastor of Cobbs Creek Baptist Church in Butler, Tennessee and his thirty second anniversary to his wife, Mary M (Bryant) Koch. 


Institution: East Tennessee State University           

Classification: Junior

Director: Ronnie Gross

Nominator: Lenus C. Morrison, Assist Director of Veteran Upward Bound

TRIO Program: Veterans Upward Bound

Grade Point Average: 4.0

Career Goal: Graduate from Seminary with a Masters of Divinity


Ronald McNair Winner
After serving six years in the United States Marine Corps, Joseph O’Connell made the decision to attend college.  Joseph describes this new endeavor as being more frightening than any of his combat experiences.  Many of his apprehensions derived from the structural difference of armed services and higher education as well as being a first generation college student.  However, Joseph’s life experience equipped him with a clear set of goals that in essence prepared him for his professional and educational journey of becoming a Research Biologist with a focus on Coral Reefs.  After being recommended to formulate his own research project and searching for funding, he found the Ronald McNair program at Middle Tennessee State University.  As a result of his active participation in the McNair program, Joseph was given aid to plan and conduct his own research and develop molecular markers for use in the study of Hawaiian corals. He looks forward to someday presenting his research results at local, national and international conferences.  Because of the McNair program, Joseph is now confident that he will not only succeed in undergraduate but also as a graduate student and in life as a Research Biologist.  He believes that the McNair program has been and will continue to be an invaluable asset in the achievement of his life’s goal.

Institution: Middle Tennessee State University      

Classification: Senior

Director: Dr. L. Diane Miller

Nominator: Steve Saunders

TRIO Program: Ronald McNair

Grade Point Average: 3.68

Career Goal: Research Biologist