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Summer Programs Recap

We had a busy summer at Tickle College of Engineering! This is the first year that we were back with face-to-face K-12 programming since 2019.  Here are the highlights of what we’ve done since June: 

Office of Engineering Diversity Programs

Our Office of Engineering Diversity Programs held two programs this summer.


This summer, Engineering Diversity Programs hosted Engineering Volunteers for Rising Tenth Graders (eVOL10) program. eVOL10 exposes rising tenth grade students to engineering through a variety of activities as an effort to help rising 10th graders understand the definition of engineering, provide an awareness of engineering careers, and offer ACT preparation. Over the course of six days, 25 participants were exposed to the engineering design process with Engineering Fundamentals faculty, and ACT Math test preparation.


Student work on HITES12 project

 Each year, the Tickle College of Engineering (TCE) hosts an experience for incoming twelfth grade students entitled, “High School Introduction to Engineering Systems for Twelfth Graders (HITES12)”. The experience provides an opportunity for participants to learn about careers in engineering, explore campus life and services, tour engineering labs and facilities, compete in engineering challenges, and jump start their academic career. 

This year, 27 high school students from Tennessee as well as other states and even Puerto Rico participated in the program. Throughout the week, students had the opportunity to engage with the college’s seven departments as well as biosystems engineering while participating in college life sessions and workshops to introduce them to the nuances of college matriculation and everyday life at UT. Students also took part in Engineering Design Labs encompassing the various engineering disciplines that comprise the college and worked on projects that married academic preparation and real-world application. Working in teams based on interest, they also worked on poster presentations that showcased research and experiments conducted during the course of the week.

Office of Student Success

The college’s Office of Student Success hosted three programs: two programs with 4-H and one with the STEM scouts, all of which were funded in part by an Office of Naval Research Grant.

4-H Electric Camp

Students participate in an Electric Camp activity

UT hosted hosted 200 middle school students at the 4-H Electric Camp in June.  Over the course of two days, they met with each student during an activity where students learned about the engineering design process and how to wire a DC motor with a switch.  After the motor was wired, students to create warning signs with colors to convey warning messages (e.g. flood warning, storm warning, etc) using lessons from nature/biomimetics.  These 200 middle schoolers and the 12 teen leaders who participated in our session will receive a challenge coin in August. 

The Office of Student Success also participated in the 4-H Academic Conference for middle school students, also held at UT. We had two sessions: one which taught about computer science, encoding, and decoding through the creation of a cipher, and another where participants discussed engineering design through the creation and testing of table-top catapults.  Students had already spent time in subject matter groups before attending these sessions, so they had spent in-depth time already discussing computer science or other STEM topics beforehand.  Approximately 100 students participated in the two sessions.

Students who participated in these events will receive a 3D printed challenge coin in the mail this fall; participation in multiple events and collection of ONR/TCE coins will make them eligible for a scholarship should they apply and be admitted to the UT’s Tickle College of Engineering.  For more information on these scholarships and eligible programs, please contact Anne Skutnik (

STEMology Camp

Student participate in a project at Stemology Camp

This summer, the Office of Student Success piloted their first summer outreach program in the Zeanah Engineering Complex. STEMology camp introduced rising 3rd-5th graders to STEM through exploration and education. For four days, 25 elementary students joined us on UT’s campus to learn about STEM topics through hands-on interactions with staff and students while gaining important skills such as public-speaking, teamwork, and problem-solving. Campers learned about the invention history timeline, how to build widgets and ciphers, experienced demonstrations and tours within the different engineering disciplines, and so much more. The camp closed with a poster presentation session for students to present on an activity they had engaged in to their parents and guardians.

The program was funded by the Office of Naval Research and was a partnership between the Tickle College of Engineer at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the East Tennessee STEM Scouts, which are part of the Boy Scouts of America Great Smoky Mountain Council.

Materials Camp

After a two-year mandatory hiatus due to the coronavirus, the Materials Camp for high school students was once again offered.  This joint endeavor between ASM international ( ASM International ), University of Tennessee, and Pellissippi Sate Community College (PSCC) took place July 11-15.

Students spent the week learning about materials including metals, ceramics, polymers, and high entropy alloys.  The short lectures were complimented with lengthy hands-on experiments/activities on these types of materials. In addition, the students toured a metals additive manufacturing facility, UT’s Scintillation Research Center, and the Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing.

The local MSE community graciously contributed to the program. Two researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and one scientist from Technology for Energy Corporation served as guest speakers and shared their areas of expertise with the students.  Peter Liaw, Professor and Ivan Racheff Chair in Materials Science & Engineering at UT, gave an in-depth lecture on his high entropy alloy research program that is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Liaw’s NSF grant provided a $200 stipend for the students.