Valeria Cardona is a sophomore majoring in Kinesiology, with a focus in the Pre-Medical Profession. Valeria was born in the beautiful city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. When she was three years old, her mother made the life-changing decision to come to the United States and leave all that they knew to start a life anew in the land of opportunity. The transition was not easy because of the language barrier, but they worked diligently to surpass such differences and soon embraced the American culture.
From, the start, Valeria noticed how important it is to obtain an education in order to become successful in this country. Since then, she has worked diligently and enthusiastically in her studies and extracurricular activities, in order to gain as much knowledge as she can, which has allowed her to attend UTK. Here she in involved with various organizations and leadership positions on campus, such as T.A.S.C Force, Ignite Team Leader, and Emerging Leaders.
Valeria hopes to continue her journey in college so she can pursue her American dream in becoming a successful and influential worker in the health field, and make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Ediobong is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he has lived all of his life. He is the oldest of three children, and has a large extended family in Nigeria, from where his parents originate. Here at the University of Tennessee, Edi is a junior double majoring in Political Science, with a concentration in International Relations; and Global Studies, with a focus on Politics and Economy. Currently, he is in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, studying abroad at the American University. He will be back in Knoxville for the fall 2013 semester, and is hoping to get involved and represent UTK well during his stay.
Back on campus, Ediobong is involved in several internationally oriented clubs, such as “Give Haiti Hope,” that sponsors a school in Boucan Carre; “She is The First,” that promotes education for girls in the developing world; and “Model United Nations,” which is an academic simulation of the United Nations. After graduation, Edi plans on using everything he learned during his undergraduate years to continue on to graduate school, and pursue a degree in International Relations, or Diplomacy.
Corey A. Hodge was born in Marietta, GA, but has lived in Knoxville long enough to consider it home. Though growing up in a single parent household, thanks to the excellent motherhood of the late Arvene D. Hodge-Hawes, Corey was instilled, at a young age, with an “achieve beyond your potential” mentality. Having lost his mother the summer before his freshman year at Austin East of East Knoxville, Corey maintained the mentality his mother instilled in him and graduated May of 2011 as Austin East’s Salutatorian.
With a current GPA of 3.52, as a resident assistant of Clement Hall, and as a member of various organizqations, Corey is a sophomore on the road to achieving his dream. Realizing the learned helplessness that affects a number of the youth of his communiity, Corey hopes to become an example by representing the possible greatness that can come from within his community. Corey wants his example to spark inspiration for others to not only achieve the same amount of greatness, but to go farther in greatness. Corey is in school to first become a teacher at Austin East, which will allow him direct contact with the youth, and then plans to continue to get his Ph. D. in Education Administration, and ultimately become principal of Austin East.
Laria Jenae Nelson is a freshman at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she currently has a 4.0 GPA. Laria is a member of the Pre-Vet Association through which she shadows at the Small Animal Clinic. She is also a member of the Equestrian Team. Laria is an Animal Science major who aspires to attend the Unversity of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, to achieve her DVM. She hopes to demonstrate her love and dedication to animals through her studies, and eventually through her practice.
Laria not only excels academically, but is extremely talented in the performing arts. The grateful daughter of Larry and Jennetta Nelson, Laria dabbled in martial arts before deciding that her calling was in performing arts. Laria is a vibrant and well-rounded youth, who has taken dance lessons at T.L. Williams Academy of Dance, and River City Dance Company in Memphis, TN, for 14 years, under the instruction of Ms. Tevita Williams-Dumas, and Ms. Bettye Williams. The styles she studies are ballet, jazz, modern, pointe, baton, hip-hop, lyrical, and liturgical dance.