The Roan Scholars Leadership Program at East Tennessee State University recently selected eight high school seniors for the Class of 2022. The selected eight students will join 21 returning Roan Scholars in the fall as part of the four-year scholarship program.

The Roan Scholars Leadership Program was founded in 1997 to attract young leaders across the region to ETSU. In the past, students have been nominated by their high schools and selected by the Roan Steering Committee. Originally, home-school students could not be nominated, but the program has now found a way to incorporate them. Students are selected based on their demonstrated commitment to character, leadership, intellectual curiosity and physical vigor.

“The intent of the program is to identify students from the region who have the potential of excellent leaders and can develop that potential over four years at ETSU,” said Scott Jeffress, Director of the Roan Scholars Program. “Hopefully we are inspiring them, challenging them and giving them experiences, so they can really go out in the world and make a difference.”

The Roan Scholars Class of 2022 was hand-picked by community leaders from among more than 90 nominees across Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina.

“We have a very good process to identify students with leadership potential,” said Jeffress. “First the 93 students were selected by community leaders and narrowed down to 20. The remaining students then came to campus for Finalists’ Day with the Steering Committee.”

The newest Roan Scholars include: Casey Bonnell, a future pediatric surgeon; Lily Edwards, a committed weight lifter; Addie Fairchild, an accomplished former vice president of the North Carolina High School Rodeo Association: Caroline Parris, a servant leader; Shivam Patel, a musician, composer and actor; Clara Reynolds, an illustrator; Jordan Teague, a future bioengineer; McKenzie Templeton, an ambassador for the Commonwealth of Virginia National Down Syndrome Society.

The Roan Scholars Leadership Program provides several opportunities that include networking and leadership events . The program even includes a full scholarship, complete with paid tuition and fees, room and board and books at ETSU for its participants. It is the hope of Jeffress that the program will inspire and develop these student leaders for their future endeavors.

At the start of the program, only four students were selected at a time. Through dedicated private donations the program has been able to grow. Jeffress hopes this trend will continue and their class size will increase.

For more information about the Roan Scholars Leadership program, contact the Roan office at 423-439-7677, email or visit the Roan website at