Top 10 Outstanding Seniors
Allison (she/her/ella) comes from an adoptive Colombian-American family in Columbus, Ohio, and is a Latin American Studies major with a minor in Neuroscience and a plan to become a Family Doctor. Her passion for health equity has been both challenged and nourished at Vanderbilt, motivating her to volunteer as a medical Spanish interpreter at Siloam Health Center, travel to Honduras and Chile for independent research on international Emergency Medicine, and advocate for indigenous cultural preservation in Mexico and Central America through a fellowship at the Library of Congress. On campus, Allison loves leading practice as President of the Running Club and promoting Emergency Medical professional experience as VP and CPR Coordinator of the Vanderbilt Emergency Medical Society. In her free time, you can find Allison running trails at Percy Warner Park, having socially distant meals with friends, facetiming her baby niece, and obsessing over her garden (hit her up for all your kale and squash needs).
Anana Upton (she/her/hers) is a senior from Chicago, Illinois, majoring in Child Development and minoring in Human and Organizational Development. When not working on research in the Early Development Lab or studying for nursing prerequisites, she can be found in NAACP meetings, volunteering with many different organizations and hospitals both on and off campus, TA-ing for one of your courses, or just hanging around campus with a smile on her face (yup, even underneath her mask)! Anana’s passions also include activism and fighting for social justice and equality, which is reflected in her career goal to work for underserved, low-income, and minority populations as a pediatric nurse practitioner in an effort to do her part to ensure the health and prosperity of all people.
Barton Christmas (he/him/his) is a student from Paducah, Kentucky studying History and Secondary Education. A Curb Scholar for Creative Enterprises, Barton has puttered around campus the last few years making balloon animals and telling stories. The one lesson he hopes to leave his peers is the same one that Vanderbilt has taught him time and time again: make room for surprises to happen.
Destinee (she/her/hers) is a Neuroscience major from Waycross, Georgia. Her time in college has been made meaningful by her involvement with Volunteers Around the World, OHARE as a Commons Residential Advisor, Alpha Epsilon Delta, and Every Nation Campus. Through her involvement in these organizations, she has discovered a love for creating warm and welcoming environments which allow others to grow in community with each other and have the best college experience possible. After graduation, Destinee plans to take a gap year before attending medical school. You can usually find her baking, drawing, hiking or working out if she’s not studying in a local coffee shop.
An aspiring computational biologist from Charlotte, NC, Elizabeth (she/her/hers) is majoring in Molecular Biology and Human and Organizational Development, with minors in Viola Performance, Anthropology, Scientific Computing, and Chemistry. Elizabeth serves as President of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, teammate and former Captain of the Vanderbilt Equestrian Team, and Principal Violist in two chamber music ensembles. As a student of all four undergraduate schools at Vanderbilt, she has developed a deep appreciation for the seemingly limitless human potential to create, collaborate, and innovate.
Elysia Tillman (they/them) is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar from Atlanta, Georgia studying Sociology and Spanish. As a black, queer, neurodivergent person, Elysia has worked to create new spaces for marginalized populations, such as Blackout, the affinity group for black, LGBTQI students, normalize inclusive practices within existing organizations, and facilitate conversations around identity and lived experiences to foster empathy. Elysia also works as the assistant director of Free Speech: The Movement, the elementary and middle school debate league for Metro Nashville Public Schools created within the communication studies department. In non-pandemic times, Elysia can be found playing Just Dance, trying to convince people to play board games, or loitering anywhere there is ice cream. After graduation, Elysia is planning to go into academia and pursue a graduate degree in sociology.
James (he/him/his) hails from West Chester, PA and is majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics with a minor in Engineering Management, while pursuing a 3+1 accelerated Master’s in Computer Science. He founded Change++ his freshman year and has loved being a part of the exciting growth of the organization these past years. He has led the organization through 20 projects ranging from an app connecting lawyers to clients in Syria, a game teaching students about affordable housing prices, a mobile app empowering the visually impaired to choose outfits, and a portal connecting members of the Peabody Coalition of Black Graduates. A former Eagle Scout, James spent this summer living in a van while traveling and backpacking across the country. He plans on returning to Etsy next year to help develop solutions for small businesses.
Jason Scott (he, him, his) is a first-generation student, originally from West Memphis, Arkansas, studying Neuroscience and Saxophone Performance. After graduation, he plans to pursue research in clinical neuroscience, examining the impact of health disparities on neurological diseases, in hopes of becoming a physician serving underdeveloped, impoverished communities similar to his own. With extensive involvement in the University Concert Band and VUcept, Jason has grown immensely over the years through pursuing his passions for music, mentorship and creating welcoming spaces. Coming to Vanderbilt was his saving grace, and Jason strives to keep that flame of hope alive in future ‘Dores by uplifting and supporting them, as his Vanderbilt family has done for him.
Michael (he/him/his) is from sunny Miami, Florida and is double majoring in Neuroscience and Spanish. His plans after graduation include enrolling in medical school and caring for populations underrepresented in medicine such as the Latinx community. You can normally find him running around campus between his job at the VUMC, his neuroscience research lab, Visions meetings with his VUceptees, Experience Vanderbilt meetings, or grabbing food with friends outside on the lawn.
Puja (she/her/hers) is a Nashville native double majoring in Neuroscience and Medicine, Health, and Society. This year, Puja serves as the Head Resident of Carmichael Towers to improve Vanderbilt’s residential experience and VSG’s Academic Affairs Chair to bolster equity within the classroom with initiatives like the Universal Test Bank and the Graduate School Equity Fund. Next fall, Puja hopes to attend medical school to pursue a career as a physician, focusing specifically on the health of the LGBT+ and immigrant communities. Puja’s favorite campus activities include hosting her WRVU radio show, studying in the Wond’ry, and sitting in Fleming Yard.
Congratulations to Barton Christmas for taking home the title of Outstanding Senior 2020!
Jacob Pierce – 2018
Samuel Edwards – 2017
Akaninyene Ruffin – 2016
Jackson Vaught – 2015
Ryan McKenney – 2014
Roo Warren – 2013
Emily Natoli – 2012
Lisa Branding – 2011
Deno Saclarides – 2010
Fabiani Duarte – 2009
Joseph Williams – 2008
Mallory (Miciek) McKenzie – 2007
Jay Salato – 2006
Meredith (Schweitzer) Britt – 2005
Past Finalists & Winners
2019 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2018 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Catherine English (Honorary Outstanding Senior Nominee)
2017 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2016 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2015 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2014 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Robbert (Bobby) Lux
2013 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2012 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2011 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2010 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2009 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2008 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Lauren Page Black
2007 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2006 Outstanding Senior Finalists
2005 Outstanding Senior Finalist – Inaugural Year
Winner in Bold
Brief History: The Vanderbilt Programming Board Homecoming Committee was formalized in the late 90s, early 2000s. It was created to unify all campus Homecoming activities. The Homecoming Committee works tirelessly to provide interesting activities to incite enthusiasm for Vanderbilt athletics and alumni relations. These events include spirit activities (Banner Competition, Volleyball Tournament, Block Party and Commodore Cup competition), service activities and the Outstanding Senior Award.
Impact on Campus: The Homecoming activities unite undergraduates, graduates, alumni, and the greater Nashville community under the umbrella of pride and excitement for Vanderbilt University. The committee accomplishes this by:
*Encouraging student participation in activities, such as volleyball, banner competition, dinner and trivia night, block party and student alumni tailgate.
*Partnered with the Red Cross to host a Blood Drive
*Promoted interaction between current undergraduate students, alumni, and the Nashville community
*Provided marketing and garnered student support for the Vanderbilt Football Homecoming Game against Missouri
*Recognized Outstanding Seniors for their accomplishments