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Student Spotlight: Andy Wyatt


College of Business Administration junior Andy Wyatt is majoring in logistics and supply chain management with a collateral in international business…and a concentration in pre-medicine…and a minor in biology…while maintaining a 3.79 cumulative grade point average. While the combination of interests may not make sense upon first glance, to Wyatt it is a logical progression toward what he wants to ultimately do with his career: make an impact on our country’s healthcare system.

Andy Wyatt“I don’t just want to be a doctor,” says Wyatt, “I want to be active in improving the process of healthcare so that more people can be provided for with better quality and less cost. I am finding that it is possible, but not by traditional means. Doctors and administrators need to be able to communicate better for this to happen.”

In the meantime, Wyatt is pursuing every avenue possible to prepare him to take on this task. In addition to the standard coursework he takes at UT, he requested to sit in on the College of Business Administration’s Center for Executive Education’s Lean for Healthcare program. There, he learned to identify and eliminate unnecessary waste from an organization’s value stream, to understand operational dysfunction and identify high-leverage areas for improvement, and to understand the human role and organizational elements in implementing and sustaining a lean transformation. Additionally, he is observing the center’s Stryker Lean Academy/Lean for the Operating Room and participating in a lean audit at UT Medical Center. He works as a research assistant in the university’s Department of Chemistry, synthesizing catalysts for medicinal and industrial purposes, and testing and screening reactions to investigate the scope of catalysts uses. This year, he is working as an apprentice in the Tennessee Apprentice Programs, researching the importance of information technology management and managing data in the healthcare field. He is working for Mercy Ships, mainly in research, and for iCare as a market research analyst.

One would assume that Andy Wyatt spends all of his time hunched over books and computers; however, this could not be further from the truth. In addition to working part-time at one of the largest health and wellness facilities in the East Tennessee region (Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center) as a manager on duty, fitness instructor, facility safety instructor, personal trainer, lifeguard, and nutrition assistant, Wyatt spent the past two years modeling for various local, regional, and national brands. He enjoys competing in triathlons. However, Wyatt’s largest impact on the university and the Knoxville community is not tied to any of these things. His passion is his work as a community outreach coordinator for Clinic Vols, a UT student organization that works with the local chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC), to volunteer in elementary schools with unique needs. The organization services over 4,500 students in 11 school clinics located within seven miles of the UT campus. Wyatt has been involved in numerous organizations while at UT, but Clinic Vols became his primary focus once he realized the impact he could have on the community.

“I started (with Clinic Vols) as a clinic volunteer, working weekly at South Knoxville Elementary School,” says Wyatt. “It was during this time that I saw the reality of the kids touched through Clinic Vols.  I really fell in love with the program, and I decided I was going to invest a large portion of my time and efforts into making the organization better, allowing it to reach more students.” 

After sharing his vision with the Clinic Vols vice president, Nathan Stebbins, Wyatt became the organization’s second community outreach coordinator, a position that was not clearly defined. So, he took the opportunity to make it into what he thought it should be---and quickly went to work.

“We visited each of the schools our volunteers work in and asked the principals what they needed most. In response to their request and in the wake of the swine flu outbreak, I started the Clinic Vols Clean Up program, in which 20-30 volunteers went into the schools  to disinfect the classrooms and perform minor maintenance work.”

Wyatt’s primary endeavor, however, has been planning the Friday Night 5K to raise funds for the Red Cross and Clinic Vols’ projects.

“I knew that for continued growth as an organization, Clinic Vols was going to have to raise money for expansion and equipment,” explains Wyatt. “The ARC currently supports us, so any funds we raise frees up funds for ARC to delegate to other programs, including disaster relief.”

Beyond supporting Clinic Vols, money raised through the 5K goes toward the Second Harvest Food Bank to provide backpacks of food to the elementary students in the inner city schools that Clinic Vols serves. Following the race, there will be a networking event for various local service organizations to share information with race participants.

“The goal is to use all available resources, connections, and networks among student volunteers and organizations to impact the community in the greatest and most effective way possible,” says Wyatt. “People can visit www.fridaynight5k.com for more information.”

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