Two undergraduate chemistry students are included in the 2023 Volunteer of Distinction Award winners. Drake Robins and Clay West were nominated by faculty members and joined the ranks of students from across the university being honored.
Drake Robins is a fourth-year senior studying analytical chemistry. He is a member of the Air Force ROTC and has been working in Associate Professor Bhavya Sharma’s lab since his junior year. After graduation, Robins will join the United States Air Force and attend Undergraduate Pilot Training. Robins expressed his gratitude for the award and his time at the University of Tennessee.
“Academics and research have always been a top priority for me throughout my time at UT, and I feel extremely blessed to be recognized for it this close to graduation,” said Robins.
Clay West, also a fourth-year senior, is a student in the department’s American Chemical Society certified bachelor’s degree program. He plans to spend the year after graduation applying to graduate schools and preparing to pursue a PhD in organic chemistry. West stated he was grateful to receive the Volunteer of Distinction Award and considers it to be a reflection of the work he has put into earning his degree.
The Volunteer of Distinction Awards were created in 2021 by the university to recognize students across campus who exhibit extraordinary academic achievement, professional promise, or excellence in research. Previous award winners from the chemistry department include Maggie Eslinger, Hannah Hagewood, Elijah Hix, Galvin McCarver, and Wilson Wang.