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MSE student awards

Five MSE Undergraduates Honored with Student Engagement Awards

Members of the MSE department brought home two trophies from the Student Engagement Awards last month.

Every year, UT’s Center for Student Engagement puts on the ceremony to honor student organizations and leaders who have made significant impacts on the campus community over the past year.

At this year’s ceremony, hosted on April 9, 2024, one MSE student and one MSE organization were so honored.

Marlena Alexander Wins Outstanding Executive Board Member Award

Undergraduate Marlena Alexander was awarded the title of Outstanding Executive Board Member. Alexander serves on the board of UT’s chapter of Material Advantage, an organization providing career development opportunities, scholarships, and membership to the MSE industry’s major professional societies, including the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) and the Materials Information Society (ASM International).

At the time of the awards ceremony, Alexander was in the Middle East serving as a Senior Airman. She is an Environmental and Electrical Systems Specialist in the 134th Aerial Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard. Fabriana Prawiranata, also an MSE undergraduate, accepted the award on Alexander’s behalf.

MRS Wins Outstanding Academic Student Organization Award

UT’s chapter of the Materials Research Society (MRS), run by Rebecca Lalk, Kim Pestovich, Cole Franz, and Sean Drewry, won the award for Outstanding Academic Student Organization. This award honors an organization that has done an excellent job fostering community between students within a certain academic discipline, major, or career focus.

Some of the outstanding MRS events over the 2023-2024 academic year included the campus-wide Science as Art competition, which showcased the visual beauty in engineering research; a mentoring workshop emphasizing the importance of mentorship to help reduce the mental health strain faced by modern graduate students; and an improvisational presentation event, open to all members of MSE, called “PowerPoint Karaoke.”


Izzie Gall (865-974-7203,