Three named to Meek Leadership Award

Iman Ahmed of Cordova and Colby Maclin and Faith Pilkington, both of Ripley, were named as the Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award winners for the spring 2024 graduating class at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

The Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award is given to graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership.

Iman Ahmed

Ahmed earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average with a major in political science and a minor in international studies. She will pursue a master’s degree at North Carolina State University.

She served as the student representative on the UTM Advisory Board for the 2022-23 school year and as a Student Government Association senator representing the College of Business and Global Affairs as well as the student body elections commissioner.

Ahmed was active as a Peer-Enabling Program Leader and served as a resident assistant through the Office of Housing, taking a proactive approach to safety and security, resolving resident issues with diplomacy and promptness.

Her interest in state and global issues led to a Tennessee General Assembly internship for state Sen. Raumesh Akbari, who represents Ahmed’s home area of Shelby County.

Ahmed served this internship at the same time that she was a member of the UTM Advisory Board.

She also researched United Nations Peacekeeping as part of the University Scholars program.

Ahmed was a member of the Black Student Association, contributing to initiatives promoting diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness within the campus and local community.

“Iman’s outstanding qualities of leadership – demonstrated through her extensive involvement in campus organizations, academic pursuits and community service initiatives – make her a deserving candidate for the Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award,” said Ryan Martin, director of the Office of Housing, who nominated Ahmed for the award. “Iman’s proactive approach to leadership, coupled with the commitment to fostering inclusivity and advocating for positive change, reflects the essence of the award’s criteria.”

Colby Maclin

Maclin earned a 3.85 grade-point average while majoring in mass media and strategic communication with a public relations concentration and a minor in sociology. She will pursue a master’s degree at Auburn University.

She took part in the Travel Study program, traveling to Spain in May and June 2022 to study urban and community sociology and to Denmark, Norway and Sweden in May and June 2023 to study the monarchies of Scandinavia.

Maclin had an internship in the summer of 2023 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, where she shadowed sales and service managers and supervised onsite operations for catering and service areas on event days.

Maclin was a four-year member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, where she served as president, vice president and secretary.

She was the program director at campus radio station WUTM and served as a sideline reporter and production director. At the 2024 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System conference, she took first place for best on-air personality and shared first place with her news team for best newscast. She also helped WUTM win its 14th straight Platinum Award.

She was a member of the Student Government Association, where she was the press secretary for two years and a committee chairperson for one year. She also served as a Freshman Council member and Student Affairs co-chair.

Maclin served as the Sigma Chi sweetheart, raising more than $1,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute as an individual. She was also a four-year UT Promise recipient, completing a minimum of eight hours of service per semester.

She was also a member of the Church of Christ Student Center, where she served as its president and held other officer positions.

Director of Student Life Rachel Martin nominated Maclin for the Meek Award and noted that Maclin came to campus in fall 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“However, she didn’t let the necessary restrictions dampen her spirit or her drive to find her place on campus,” Martin said on Caslin’s nomination form. “I watched her immediately begin to look for opportunities to get involved.

“Colby has been actively involved in almost every area of campus. She has been involved in a variety of organizations from academic to service to religious; she has excelled in our student media; and has given much to the student body during her tenure with SGA. … She possesses a high level of maturity, and I know she will continue to be a great example of a UT Martin graduate when she heads to graduate school in the fall.”

Faith Pilkington

Pilkington earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average studying political science and philosophy as a University Scholar. She earned a spot on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll with Highest Honors in six semesters. She will attend the Vanderbilt School of Law.

Pilkington was the president of the Student Government Association in her final year at UT Martin, was the vice president the previous year (2022-23) and a senator and academic affairs committee chair in the 2021-22 school year. She also served as the Freshman Council president.

She took part in the Scandinavian Travel Study in May and June 2023, visiting Denmark, Norway and Sweden, where she learned about differing political and governmental processes.

Pilkington was a member of the Student Alumni Council, working with UT Martin alumni to create networking opportunities for students. She was a member of the Delta Mu Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha, where she oversaw the chapter’s involvement in special campus events and collaborated to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer education.

During her philosophy internship with Dr. Chris Brown, professor of philosophy, Pilkington spoke to high schools in West Tennessee to encourage participation in the annual National High School Ethics Bowl, which she had volunteered as a moderator since 2021.

Ryan Martin nominated Pilkington for the Meek Award and praised Pilkington for her leadership skills.

“As the current student body president, Faith has played a pivotal role in shaping campus policies and initiatives, ensuring that student voices are heard and represented in university decision-making processes,” he stated in her nomination form. “Her leadership has led to the successful implementation of various campus-wide initiatives aimed at enhancing student welfare and engagement.

“Faith’s leadership extends beyond the confines of the campus, as evidenced by her active involvement to community service initiatives. … Additionally, Faith’s internship with Dr. Chris Brown, professor of philosophy, showcases her commitment to promoting ethical education in high schools across West Tennessee.”

Photo: Posing with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Andy Lewter (far left) at the spring 2024 commencement on May 4 are the winners of the spring 2024 Paul and Martha Meek Leadership Award (L-R) Colby Maclin, Iman Ahmed and Faith Pilkington.

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