Hannah Bilger and Kelsea Koonce, both involved with WUTM, were recognized as recipients of the Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award during their commencement on Dec. 10. The Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award is presented to two graduating students who demonstrate outstanding campus and community service during their time at UT Martin.
Hannah Bilger, of McKenzie, is WUTM's previous program director. A graduate of the mass media and strategic communication department, she made a large impact on campus during her two years here. Holding leadership positions in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Women of Excellence and Student Alumni Council. After transferring, Bilger began working with "The Hawk" as the news director and moved into the top position of leadership, program director, during her last semester.
“If you know Hannah, you know how dynamic she is, and her leadership ability is easily detectable,” said John Abel, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs. “She has been involved and held leadership positions in multiple student organizations on top of being heavily engaged in the local community.”
Kelsea Koonce, of Dyersburg, was a practicum student with the station. An agricultural business graduate, she has been a strong campus leader since she step foot on UT Martin's campus. She was able to serve as a SOAR leader for student summer orientation and as a First-Year Initiative PEP leader for the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. She volunteered with the National FFA Association, helping with and attending the national convention for many years, and worked as a counselor for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Agricultural Sciences, being a supervisor and mentor to 32 high school students. Koonce has represented the student body as the only student member on the UT Martin Advisory Board and as an ambassador for Agriculture Future of America.
“Throughout her tenure at UTM, Kelsea has sought out multiple opportunities for growth,” said Lindee McCurley, assistant director of the Boling University Center. “One of the many things that I admire about Kelsea is that she sought to use the opportunities given to her to lead and represent UTM both on and off campus.”
The Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award is named after Dr. Paul Meek who served the UT Martin campus from 1934 to 1967 in the roles of executive officer, dean, UT vice president and chancellor. This award was originally established and funded by the three Meek children to honor their parents. The Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award is the only award given each semester during commencement.
WUTM and the staff at "The Hawk" thank both Hannah and Kelsea for all of their hard work and time put towards the station. We are proud of these women and cannot wait to see them excel in their future endeavors.