B.O.S.S. 2014 Breakout Sessions



1. STEM Undergraduate Student Panel: What We Wish We’d Known

with presenters Alex Hwang, Mary ‘Jennings’ Hardee, and Samantha Medina (Room 127)

Description: Alex Hwang, Mary ‘Jennings’ Hardee, and Samantha Medina will answer questions about being an undergraduate STEM major.

Presenter Bios:

Mary Jennings Hardee is a freshman undergraduate student from Brentwood, TN. Jennings is majoring in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB), and she plans to go to medical school to become a surgeon some day. In her words, “If you allow yourself to be open-minded and eager for new experiences, you will find yourself surrounded by wonderful people and innovative ideas.”

Alex Hwang is a freshman student at the University of Tennessee majoring in kinesiology with aspirations to become an orthopedic surgeon. He is a member of the Freshman Council of the Student Government Association and is in training to be a Resident Advisor. Although he was born in Chicago he has lived in Knoxville for most of his life. He played varsity sports throughout highs school and enjoys water sports, snowboarding and pickup basketball.  Alex is also an avid traveler and has visited over 20 countries. He describes himself as “Half-Asian or Half-American, depending if you are a half-empty or half-full person.”

Samantha Medina is a freshman at UT and her major is Material Science and Engineering . She works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy Lab in the Material Science Department and it is the most rewarding college experience she has had so far. Samantha has lived in Knoxville for the past three years and graduated from Bearden High School. Before that she lived in Mexcio for almost three years after moving from my hometown of Bolingbrook, Illinois. Samantha spends as much time as she can volunteering with the various organizations. In her words, “I deeply enjoy helping others and I think it is important to give back to our communities.”

2. FUNdamentals of Engineering: What to Expect as an Engineering Major and Professional

with presenter Richard Bennett (Room 128)

Description: This session will introduce you to the different disciplines of engineering, what you can expect from an engineering education, and some exciting research that engineers are involved in.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Richard Bennett is a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is currently the Director of Engineering Fundamentals, a leading-edge, success-oriented approach to freshman engineering education. Dr. Bennett has 30 years of engineering education experience.

3.Choose It, Learn It, Live It: Your STEM Career Roadmap

with presenter Justin Rice (Room 129)


Justin Rice will highlight different career paths for STEM majors and the steps students need to take outside of the classroom to make themselves more marketable.  Students will also participate in an image-based assessment to determine personality types and potential career matches (smartphone or tablet will be needed to participate in the assessment).

Presenter Bio:

Justin Rice is the STEM Career Consultant at UT Career Services. Prior to arriving at UT he earned his Master’s degree in Adult and Community Education from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, where he also worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Career Center. He earned his undergraduate degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN in English, and worked as an 8th grade English teacher for two years.







4a. Science Careers at a National Laboratory:  Creating solutions looking for problems

with presenter Jeremy Busby (Room 211)


Dr. Busby will talk about why he decided to become a scientist and the amazing projects that are going on at ORNL.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Busby is a member of the Senior Research and Development Staff in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His contributions range from light water reactors to advanced, high temperature reactors and space reactor systems as well as research in support of the ITER project. He has won numerous accolades including the American Nuclear Society Landis Young Member Achievement award in 2006, ORNL Early Career Award for Engineering Accomplishment in 2007, Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering in 2010, and a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award in 2011.

4b. Student Opportunities at ORNL-Why not get grad school paid for?

with presenter Josh Scull (Room 211)


Mr. Scull will speak about STEM-related internships at ORNL and why every student should apply to spend their summers working as a college intern at ORNL.

Presenter Bio:

Josh Scull graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from the University of Tennessee in May of 2009. Josh is currently completing the last semester of his Masters degree in Human Resources at the University of Tennessee. He began his career at ORNL in the University Recruiting department, traveling around the nation recruiting early career researchers from a number of top-ranked universities. In 2011 Josh became Human Resource Manager for the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate. He is also the recruiter for ORNL’s prestigious Wigner Fellowship program and is heavily involved in internship, post-bachelor, and post-masters assignments at ORNL.

5. Texas Instruments: More than Calculators

with presenters Doug Smith and Jeremy Brantley (Room 251)


For more than 80 years, Texas Instruments has used increasingly complex signal-processing technology – with advances ranging from the incremental to the revolutionary – to literally and repeatedly change the world. Every day, our semiconductor innovations help 90,000 customers unlock possibilities for a smarter, safer, greener, healthier and more enjoyable world. Our focus on building a better future is ingrained in everything we do, from responsible semiconductor manufacturing, to employee care and active involvement with the communities we live in. TI-ers are a tremendously diverse group, coming from every continent, embracing scores of different cultures and viewpoints, and speaking dozens of languages; yet we all share a passion for discovery. After all, innovation is what we do. TI’s amazing past is a prologue to an even more incredible future. And in many ways, our story is just beginning.

Presenter Bio:

Doug Smith is a digital design engineer with over 20 years design experience. He has worked for Texas Instruments for the last 6 years. Doug grew up in the Knoxville area and graduated from Karns High School. He then attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he earned his bachelors degree in electrical engineering in 1989.

Jeremy Brantley is an electrical engineer and alumnus of University of Tennessee where he completed his Master’s and Bachelor degrees in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. As a graduate research assistant he studied integrated circuit design, LabVIEW programming for automated testing, and bench level circuit testing and characterization. He currently works as an integrated circuit designer at Texas Instruments in Knoxville, TN.

6. STEM Professor Panel: What We Wish Our Freshmen Knew

with presenters Dr.’s Joan Lind, Joanne Logan, Claudia Rawn, and Jeanine Williamson (Room 252)


Joan Lind (assistant professor of Mathematics), Joanne Logan (associate professor in biosystems engineering and soil science, AG campus), Claudia Rawn (associate professor of materials science and engineering) and Jeanine Williamson (professor and engineering research librarian) will discuss the keys to student success and answer your questions.

Presenter Bio:

Joan Lind received her PhD in Mathematics from the University of Washington, and she is currently in her 4th year as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee.  Dr Lind’s research involves studying 2-dimensional curves using complex analysis.  One of her passions is working with students on undergraduate research projects, and she has advised over 24 students.

Joanne Logan is associate professor and undergraduate coordinator in the department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. For more than 25 years she has taught classes in climate change, water resources, computer mapping, and professional development. Her research interests include investigations of undergraduate teaching strategies and technology, climate change, and water resources. Her outside interests and hobbies include soccer refereeing, hiking, and biking. Her college, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, has seen a remarkable increase in the number of students since 2005, thanks to a great job market for graduates in STEAM related fields.

Claudia Rawn received her BS from Virginia Tech in Materials Engineering, her MS in Chemistry from George Mason University, and her PhD from the University of Arizona in Materials Science and Engineering. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Director of the Center for Materials Processing.  Dr. Rawn is also the PI on an NSF funded STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant called Research and Instructional Strategies for Engineering Retention (RISER) at the University of Tennessee focusing on retaining first year engineering students.

Jeanine Williamson has served as a reference librarian for engineering and the University of Tennessee Space Institute for almost 13 years. Dr. Williamson received a PhD in 2000 from UNC in information science and an MLS from the University of Alabama. As a librarian Dr. Williamson provides instruction sessions and research help to faculty and students, manages the engineering and UTSI library collections, and conducts research.