Top 10 Outstanding Seniors

Allison Booher

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

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

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 Johnson

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.

Elizabeth Dorans

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

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 Raubenehimer

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

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 Gonçalves

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 Jagasia

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
Frances Burton
Vineet Desai
Troy Jiang
Sophia Lee
Cody Markel
Will Newell
Aaron Niederman
Tommy Oswalt
Gregory Ridgel
Mikaelle Williams

2018 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Jane Brennan
Cutler Klein
Henry Bristol
Agatha Fenech
Telyse Masaoay
Kencell Nixon
Jacob Pierce
Sam Smith
Priya Trivedi
Zaria Williams
Catherine English (Honorary Outstanding Senior Nominee)

2017 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Andrew Brodsky
Kayla Cooper
Sam Edwards
Shelly Feldman
Sparsh Gupta
Katie Harris
Shawn Kerry
Madison Maderious
Mac Ploetz
Olivia Solow-Niederman

2016 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Owen Burks
Jude Cohen
Lisa Muloma
Lauren Pak
Monica Peacock
Victoria Potter
Akaninyene Ruffin
Musbah Shaheen
Carly Stewart
Megan Ward

2015 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Rebecca Chong
Sarah D’Amico
Asheeka Desai
Kevin Groll
Pranjal Gupta
Laurel Hattix
Safiah Hassan
Sam Hoskins
Hayley Kahn
Jackson Vaught

2014 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Emily Gardner
Duncan Hall
Aditya Karhade
Robb King
Robbert (Bobby) Lux
Ryan McKenney
Pranav Santapuram
Alexis Simpson
Abigail Shachar
Anna Watt

2013 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Dorothy Buckner
Kiersten Chresfield
Roo George-Warren
Maysa Kaskas
Lisa Koenig
Kristen Mosley
Megan Piphus
Alexandra Scavone
Carey Spear
Noelle Suarez-Murias

2012 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Devin Brooks
Ankur Doshi
Aladine Elsamadicy
Trevor Geller
Nick Hall
Skyler Hutto
Ashley Kimery
Libby Marden
Emily Natoli
Keith Neely

2011 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Francesca Amiker
Brittany Cowfer
Sarah Barr
Gheremey Edwards
Lisa Branding
Lauren Holroyd
Zye Hooks
Sloane Speakman
Mengting Ren
Tyler Verdell

2010 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Sahi Denduluri
Nicole Gunasekera
Leslie Labruto
Annalise Miyashiro
Madeline Myers
Hana Nasr
Rebeca Ojeda
Lucie Rhoads
Deno Saclarides
Gracie Smith

2009 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Meredith Ackerman
Ellen Black
Tracy Branding
Fabiani Duarte
Andrew Enkeboll
Tacara Harris
Alex Hillard
Scott Krenitski
Ralph Passarella
Melissa Zhu

2008 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Lauren Page Black
Emma Cofer
Jennifer Hirsch
Kellianne Kleeman
Brad Lawrence
Marty Pendleton
Amanda Scott
Sarah Scott
Sean Tierney
Joseph Williams

2007 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Elizabeth Bennett
Fatmata Daramy
Austin Dirks
Palmer Harston
Natalie King
Mark Mason
Mallory Miciek
Brittany Perkins
Natalie Roebuck
Roy Stone

2006 Outstanding Senior Finalists
Charleson Bell
Emilie Carroll
Raymond Dake
Devin Donovan
Eric Frye
Gabriel Hemphill
Allison Malone
Maggie Myers
Jay Salato
Lindsey Williams

2005 Outstanding Senior Finalist – Inaugural Year
Davis Blanton
Erica Grimaldi
Matt Meiners
Kate Morgan
Nabilah Rahman
Meredith Schweitzer
Donna Sharp
Erin Shepherd
Stan Sonu
Leah Watson

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

Savannah Larkin
Kirsten Nafziger