1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania spotlighting Class of 2024 on social media

graduating seniors walking

Transylvania University has been highlighting its graduating seniors on social media in the weeks leading up to Saturday’s commencement.

These features on the school’s main Instagram account are showcasing a range of student achievements and interests — from academic success to athletic excellence to campus and community service.

The following six seniors were the first to be spotlighted. Stay tuned for more.

Transylvania senior Harrison Carlson-Bratton has been working hard to ensure his fellow Pioneers get the most out of college life. As Student Activities Board president, he’s helped coordinate a variety of fun events — from Brinner to Raf Week to Pioneer Palooza, where new students explore all that campus organizations have to offer. “Finding that initial group is important,” he stressed. The accounting major from Simpsonville is also active in his Kappa Alpha fraternity (earning Interfraternity Member of the Year honors). Plus, he’s served as an admissions ambassador and First Engagements coordinator. After graduation, he plans to move to Baltimore and work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The path to medical school is never easy, but Transylvania senior Kiera Draffen has been up to the challenge — to say the least. She was our first Pioneer to double-major in the difficult combination of physics and chemistry: biochemistry track (she also minored in Spanish). Headed to commencement with a 4.0 GPA, Draffen also collaborated with faculty on research — including a National Science Foundation-funded project with lasers and optical detectors. Additionally, she’s been involved with a variety of campus organizations, including the Pre-Health Club, Chi Omega, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Delta Epsilon and Students Against Hunger and Homelessness. The Wilmington, North Carolina, native also organized CPR certification classes and presented at the recent American Chemistry Society meeting.

Senior Liz Howell came to Transylvania from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, because Transylvania is in the heart of horse country. In addition to riding for the eventing team, she engages with the local equestrian community, volunteering her time to help organize events and participate in outreach programs. Howell, who’s always wanted to be a veterinarian, has also conducted research with biology professor Becky Fox, worked on a study at the Gluck Equine Research Center and was a medicine technician for the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. The biology major (pre-veterinary track) and chemistry minor plans to attend Cornell veterinary school after graduation. Howell has been a campus leader as well, serving as a residence hall area coordinator and RA, a staffer for the Writing Center and the Transylvanian and as a member of Pre-Health Club, Chi Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Transylvania senior Aubrey Knop said college students sometimes forget about the bigger picture — but she hasn’t as she gives back to a community that has given her so much. She’s impacted those around her as a Chi Omega Foundations ambassador, First Engagements scholar and Campus Center building manager. She’s also served as president of Students Against Hunger and Homelessness and as a member of the Pre-Health Club and Chi Omega (secretary and Panhel delegate. All of these groups are helping make our school and city better places to live and learn through a variety of volunteer efforts, including fundraisers like the recent Transy Dance Marathon. Also a former member of the track and cross-country teams, Knop is a biology major (molecular and cellular track) and hails from Mosheim, Tennessee. She plans to attend graduate school at the University of Louisville.

Harry Powers has taken advantage of research opportunities at Transylvania and beyond while working toward a neuroscience degree with an emphasis in psychology. The senior from Wyoming, Ohio, presented a poster that won a diversity award at last month’s Society of Pediatric Psychology’s Annual Conference. The study on “Body dissatisfaction and perceived sexual attractiveness amongst sexual minority adolescents and young adults” was in collaboration with a lab at the University of Cincinnati, where he plans to pursue his Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Powers credits Transylvania faculty and staff for supporting him in his research (through funding, for instance). He was also a member of the men’s lacrosse team and the Psi Chi honor society — and he kept score at volleyball matches.

Since Trent Youngblood picked up a bat for the Pioneers four years ago, quite a few updates have been in order to the team’s record book. The senior infielder and pitcher is the career record holder in hits, runs scored, total and stolen bases, walks, doubles and triples. He also earned All-American honors and was named the HCAC Newcomer of the Year. This year’s team, ranked No. 18 in the nation, heads into the conference tournament as a squad that loves to compete, Trent said. With experienced leaders and younger players stepping up big, their success has been a collective effort, he added. Trent plans to go on to graduate school and continue his baseball career at the University of Kentucky.