Two students share distinction of being named 2007 Derryberry Award winners

The Derryberry Award is given annually to the best overall student at Tennessee Tech University, is the most prestigious student honor bestowed by the university — and is a distinction shared by two outstanding recipients this year.

The 2007 Derryberry Award winners are Jennifer Cloud, an industrial engineering and professional communications major from Powell, and Alison Wachs, an industrial engineering major from Mountain City.

Former university president, the late Everett Derryberry, established the award upon his retirement. He wanted an award of merit to be given “to a senior who has exhibited scholastic attainment arising out of moral and intellectual integrity; successful campus activity where participation indicates a commitment to good citizenship, interest in one’s fellow persons, and instincts for leadership; and physical vigor as shown by fondness for and success in sports.”

Cloud, the daughter of Tom Cloud and the late Jeanne Cloud, carries a 3.8 grade point average in the Honors Program at TTU. She has received more than 10 scholarships, including the TTU Presidential Merit and University Academic Service scholarships and the Institute of Industrial Engineers Gambrell Scholarship, an international award.

She was one of only two TTU students selected to attend “A Gathering of Nobel Laureates” at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in February 2005. She has also received numerous other honors and awards, such as Outstanding Honors Freshman, 2002-03; Outstanding Honors Student of the Year, 2003-04; and membership in campus chapters of various honor societies.

Cloud is a member of several academic organizations and has served in leadership capacities in many of them. She has been active in the Institute of Industrial Engineers, attending the organization’s regional conference each year since 2004. She has also served as vice president of the Alphi Pi Mu industrial engineering honor society, treasurer of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and secretary of the Society for Technical Communication.

A member of the Wesley Foundation, Cloud has participated on Wesley/ASG indoor and outdoor soccer, flag football and softball teams. She was named Female Player of the Year for the women’s indoor soccer team in 2004.

“Jennifer is universally well-liked and respected by students and professors for her work ethic and her generous, positive spirit that guides her approach to both academic and extracurricular activities,” said Jessica Matson, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at TTU.

“She is valued as a team member on team projects in her courses. She has a gift for suggesting constructive ideas to advance her team’s progress in a way that is readily accepted by other team members,” Matson continued.

Wachs, the daughter of Peter and Joy Wachs, has received numerous honors and awards, including Industrial Engineering Academic Awards for both her sophomore and junior years. She is a member in campus chapters of several distinctive honor societies, such as Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Alpha Pi Mu industrial engineering honor society, Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society and Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society.

She won a first place award this year in the undergraduate student paper category at the Society for Health Systems International competition. Her topic was “Improving Patient Satisfaction in a Cancer Center,” and it was based on research she conducted locally at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Wachs is a member of several academic organizations and has served in leadership capacities in many of them. She has been active in the Institute of Industrial Engineers, attending the organization’s annual conference and exposition last year and its regional conference this year. She served as its secretary from April to October 2006 but stepped down to serve as chairperson of the Student Activities Committee for its 2007 annual conference.

She serves as president of the Alpha Pi Mu industrial engineering honor society, has been cataloguer for the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and has been both secretary and treasurer for the Society of Women Engineers.

In addition to her academic and extracurricular activities, Wachs is also a certified American Red Cross water safety instructor. In 2004-05, she coached a 5th and 6th grade girls’ basketball team and played intramural volleyball at TTU in 2003 and 2006.
“Alison’s intellect, academic abilities, work ethic, perseverance and thirst for knowledge combine to make her one of the most outstanding students I have ever known,” said Kenneth W. Hunter, associate professor of engineering.

“Her ability to integrate material from multiple courses and apply it to the solution of complex problems, an attribute that is not fully developed in most engineers until they have been on the job for a couple of years, is truly exceptional,” Hunter continued.

The Derryberry Award selection process goes to every department, school, college and administrative division for close scrutiny on would-be nominees.

This year, six other candidates were nominated for the award. They are James Edward Droke and Nicholas B. Hodges, both of Cookeville, Nicholas Pate of Lenoir City, Howard Trent Smith of McMinnville, Leah Elizabeth Watson of Old Hickory and Natalie Winningham of Cookeville.

Watson and Pate were selected as finalists for the award.