NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Chandler Cotton, a Tennessee State University junior biology major, has been selected as one of only five students nationwide to receive the prestigious 2024 Jordan Smith Undergraduate Student Fellowship Award. This highly competitive fellowship program aims to enhance the leadership skills and knowledge base of undergraduate students, empowering them to promote and cultivate first-year student development on their respective campuses.
Out of hundreds of undergraduate student nominations, Chandler, who is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, emerged as the sole recipient from a Historically Black College or University. He will receive his award at the 43rd National Conference on The First Year Experience, scheduled to be held in Seattle, Washington, in February 2024. As an award recipient, Chandler will have the opportunity to attend the conference, where he will meet and collaborate with faculty, staff, and students dedicated to serving first-year students. The fellowship award covers travel and hotel accommodations, as well as conference registration.
At TSU, Chandler has consistently demonstrated his commitment to supporting and advocating for first-year students. He has served as a stellar Tiger PAL (Peer Advocate Leader) mentor, a University Ambassador, and a student advisor and charter member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society for First-Year Students. Most recently, he was elected by the student body to serve as the Representative at Large for First-Year Students in the Student Government Association.
Chandler’s exceptional achievements and dedication to student success was recognized by Dr. Tasha A. Carson, assistant vice president of First-Year Students, who nominated him for the award.
“Receiving this award is truly an honor, not only for my collegiate journey but also for my future career as a pediatrician,” Cotton said. “I am grateful to Dr. Carson for her recommendation and for igniting a passion in me for the first-year experience. As a reserved freshman, I have grown through my involvement and experiences, and I appreciate the opportunity to enhance my leadership skills through this prestigious award.”
Dr. Carson, thrilled with Cotton’s selection, expressed her pride and admiration for his accomplishments, stating, “I was very happy to nominate Chandler for this award and I’m really proud that he was selected,” Carson said. “He has remained a continuous support and advocate for first-year students through various roles.”
For more information on first-year experience at TSU, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/fye/.