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Nine CCI Alumni Make the 2023 Volunteer 40 Under 40

Every year, the University of Tennessee’s Alumni Foundation honors 40 alumni under the age of 40 who have excelled in their professions and communities in exemplifying the Volunteer spirit. This year, the College of Communication and Information boasts nine alumni on the distinguished 40 under 40 Volunteer list for 2023.

“We are incredibly proud to have nine CCI alumni in this year’s 40 under 40, and I believe it speaks to the legacy of excellence CCI strives to maintain inside and outside of the classroom for its students. We congratulate and thank each of these impressive Vols for so positively representing our college in everything they do.”

Each of these nine alumni will be featured in more in-depth articles this spring on the CCI website:

  • Monica Abbott (’08) is a USA softball pitcher who was Tennessee’s first softball All-American in the university’s history. She holds many records in National Pro Fastpitch and the Japan Softball League. She also played for Team USA in the 2008 and 2020 summer Olympics. She earned her undergraduate degree in communication studies.
  • Alexis Foster (’12) earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations and translated it into a career in content design. The Knoxville native now resides in Los Angeles and is currently a senior product designer and content strategist managing customer interactions and design standards across the Disney streaming portfolio. 
  • Heather Haley (’05) is chief meteorologist at Knoxville news station WVLT-TV and earned her degree from the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. She is Knoxville’s first female meteorologist and she has continued working with CCI to help create a new minor in broadcast meteorology.
  • Marcus Hilliard (’09) serves as the senior associate athletics director and chief of staff for UT, and is currently a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program at the university. This communication studies alumni is responsible for a variety of roles, including strategic initiatives and special projects for the athletics department, and serves as a member of the cabinet of the vice chancellor and director of athletics. 
  • Kyle Hixson (’05) is an appellate court judge for the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. He earned his undergraduate degree from CCI and his doctorate of jurisprudence from UT. He is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Eastern, Middle, and Western Federal District Courts for the State of Tennessee.
  • Victoria Kline (’10) is the director of club marketing for Major League Baseball, an oversees strategy and implementing initiatives to grow the game of baseball worldwide. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree from CCI, she worked as an intern for the National Football League, and then went on to spend eight seasons with the Atlanta Braves’ overseeing their digital marketing and social media efforts.
  • Lauren Moore (’07, ’09) earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public relations from CCI, and is currently the CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is responsible for raising more than $73 million in this position, and previously served as a fundraiser at UT, the University of Minnesota, and Virginia Commonwealth University Health.
  • Rachel Rui (’09, ’14) earned both a master’s and PhD from CCI, and is currently UT’s first director of the Office of Asia Engagement and the communications director at the Center for Global Engagement. She advocates against discrimination of Asians and for diversity, equity and inclusion, and established the East Tennessee Chinese/Chinese American Care community organization. She is also the director of marketing and communications for the Knoxville Asian Festival.
  • Courtney Vick (’12) is the field marketing coordinator for Whataburger Corporate in Tennessee and Northwest Mississippi. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and electronic media, and was bestowed the recognition of Torchbearer, the highest honor for a student at UT, when she was an undergraduate.