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Outreach and Community Learning Services

B.O.S.S. 2018 Sessions

Press “Details” below each session for a description of the session and presenter information.

Aerospace Career Retrospective: Space Shuttle

presented by Dr. James Martinez

Room: Hodges 212  
Description: The objective of this audio-visual presentation is to provide an engaging, personal account of aerospace engineering from the perspective of a mechanical engineer who formerly worked on the Space Shuttle. Motivations, work environment, technologies and skill development will be covered, as well as a question and answer period. Current career opportunities in the aerospace field will also be highlighted. The session will end with a collaborative, hands-on activity (airplane paper folding) that illustrates aerodynamic design and teamwork. The paper folding activity will allow students to work with peers to create an aerodynamic vehicle which can score points in three categories: (1) maximum distance flown, (2) maximum time in the air, and (3) ability to withstand a vertical physical force (heavy book). Middle and high school students will enjoy the activity’s familiarity, and be challenged by problem solving through collaboration.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. James Martinez served as a Mechanical Engineer for Rockwell International, where he supervised design changes on the Space Shuttle Main Engine, including seven “criticality one” (failure resulting in loss of vehicle) components. He collaborated with professional material scientists, heat exchange engineers and inspection technicians to propose and implement engineering design change proposals for approval by NASA officials. Later, Dr. Martinez directed interdisciplinary teams to simulate ballistic missile threat scenarios to evaluate interceptor seeker performance. Currently, Dr. Martinez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, where he investigates K-12 school administrator support for STEM teachers.

Engineering Your Future in the Tickle College of Engineering

presented by the Engineering Student Panel

Room: Hodges 253                        
Description: Students majoring in Engineering are prepared to enter some of the most cutting-edge professions and leave the University of Tennessee ready to solve some of the biggest problems facing our world. The Tickle College of Engineering Student Ambassadors will provide an overview of the discipline of Engineering, review the Engineering majors available at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and discuss the path to entering an Engineering field. They will discuss their personal experiences with study abroad, internships, co-ops, and research assistantships. Finally, they will have a hands-on activity to demonstrate some of the ways Engineers work together to solve problems. We will be showcasing team work in Engineering projects and will have a hands-on element to facilitate that collaborative process.

Presenter Bio:

This session will be presented by current Student Ambassadors from the Tickle College of Engineering.

Origami in Science and Math

presented by Dr. Anne M. Ho

Room: Hodges 129                        
Description: In the past 20 years or so, researchers have started using the Japanese art of origami in science and math. For example, origami has been used to design heart stents, paper-thin batteries, and foldable solar arrays. It has also been used as a learning and teaching tool in various math courses. In this presentation, students will see a series of new scientific applications of origami, and then they will engage in a couple of hands-on math puzzles. No folding experience required. The hands-on activities include Fujimoto’s Approximation Technique and the square twist fold. The first activity is a creative way to think about using fractions. It also provides some insight as to why scientists and mathematicians use approximation methods for a “good enough” answer when doing actual research. The square twist fold shows an unexpected way to fold a piece of paper flat. Questions that arise during this activity provide an introduction to nonstandard math topics that are likely new for students.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Anne M. Ho is a Lecturer in the Mathematics Department. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. from Colorado State University as well as her B.A.S. in Math and English from Regis University. Previously, she was working at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, where she started a Math Teachers’ Circle program working with local middle and high school teachers. She has been active in student Math Circle programs and other outreach events as well. Her interests include math education, number theory, cryptography, and interdisciplinary research.

Forensic Odontology

presented by Kortney Dewayne Powell

Room: Hodges 127                        
Description: When you think of forensics, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind are: shows like NCIS, CSI, and Law & Order; occupations such as a coroner, medical examiner, or a toxicologist to name a few. But have you ever considered a dentist to be included in forensics? The focus of this session is to spotlight how dentist, or forensic odontologist as they are formally known by, throughout history have served an integral role by aiding law enforcement in solving cases. The proposed interactive component is aimed to allow students to work as an odontologist and identify bite marks in a game show format. Students will be divided into teams, presented with a series of appropriate images and answer choices.

Presenter Bios:

Kortney Dewayne Powell graduated from UT with his bachelors in Food Science and Technology in May 2017. During his undergraduate career he worked for One Stop Student Services, and served the university in a host of roles and organizations such as: Advisor to the Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, SGA Director of Academic Affairs, and as an executive member of For The Kids—UT’s student development extension of the Children’s Miracle Network. Currently, Kortney is a pursuing his masters in Comparative and Experimental Medicine with a Concentration in Forensic Odontology, within the College of Veterinary Medicine.

From Rural Roots to Studying STEMM: First-Generation, First Year Student Panel

moderated by Pamela Rosecrance and Marlon Johnson and featuring a panel of ASPIRE Scholars

Room: Hodges 213                      
Description: Join us for a panel consisting of Appalachian Students Promoting the Integration of Research in Education (ASPIRE) Scholarship students! ASPIRE Scholars are academically high achieving, first-generation college students from rural Appalachian towns in Tennessee studying STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medicine) majors. Panelists will respond to questions about their experiences of transition from home to majoring in STEMM. The purpose of the panel is to give high school students and first year college students tips and insight on what they can do to prepare and succeed in a STEMM major if they are first-gen, from a rural area, both, or neither! The interactive component of our presentation consists of audience members asking questions to the panelists. We will welcome questions on the topics we have addressed or anything else related to STEMM, their transition, and their experience within the ASPIRE program.

Moderator Bios:

Pamela Rosecrance is a second-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She serves as a mentor and instructor for the Appalachian Students Promoting the Integration of Research in Education (ASPIRE) Scholarship program. Pamela’s study of vocational psychology and career development drive her leadership and engagement with each ASPIRE scholar.

Marlon Johnson is a second-year doctoral student in Counselor Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a mentor and instructor for ASPIRE. Marlon’s desire for community development and educational equity fuels his passion for encouraging his students to pursue careers in STEM.


Play With Your Food! – The Science Behind Food

presented by Jessica Black, Dr. Vermont Dia, & Karen Jones

Room: Hodges 251                        
Description: What does science have to do with food? Food Scientists use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and sensory study to better understand the nature of foods, spoilage, factors affecting food safety, and underlying food processes. This allows us to improve the safety and quality of foods as well as create new wholesome foods. The population of the world is growing, and we must find a way to feed everyone. With that responsibility comes many challenges and food scientists are searching for ways to solve those challenges! One of the major issues affecting the food industry today are allergies. Wheat, which contains allergens, is one of the most widely used ingredients in food processing ranging from simple baked products such as bread to extruded material such as breakfast cereal. The objective of this activity is to expose students to the physicochemical properties of wheat flour with a focus on the isolation of gluten, the major protein responsible for its widespread application in the food industry. Students will isolate gluten, by washing the dough ball, from flour and compare its physical properties to flour dough. At the end of this interactive session, the student is expected to have an understanding of the different components of flour and the importance of gluten in many food products.

A demonstration will be provided to participants using lipids to show them how food science can be fun. Lipids are organic compounds that are insoluble in water. There are various types of lipids, but two terms that are often used to refer to lipids are fats and oils. Fats are typically solid at room temperature, and oils are liquid at room temperature. While fats and oils differ from a nutritional standpoint, they can also impact food quality in terms of sensory characteristics. The purpose of the demonstration will be to show how different lipids (i.e. fats and oils) can impact perceived food quality in terms of appearance, texture, aroma, and taste. The demonstration will consist of participants receiving 3 samples of popcorn that have been popped using different lipids such as olive oil, safflower oil, and lard. Participants will be asked to describe the appearance, texture, aroma, and taste of each sample as well as indicate similarities and differences among the 3 popcorn samples. Participants will also be asked to indicate their degree of liking for the products and guess which lipids were used to pop the popcorn samples.

Presenter Bio:

Jessica Black is the Student Relations Coordinator in the Department of Food Science at the University of Tennessee.


Convince the BigWig

presented by Dr. Russel Hirst, Erin Stackhouse, Emily Brooks, & Kamryn Dagel

Room: Hodges 252  
Description: BOSS students will learn techniques for presenting (in both writing and speaking) their Big Ideas to “BigWigs,” people in positions to grant them resources and opportunities to pursue their ideas. The main instructor (Hirst) will provide and explain an Elevator Speech Generator, a “template” for creating quick, effective rhetorical appeals. The goal is to give students insight into the power of intelligent rhetorical approaches for promoting their ideas. They will understand the importance of shaping their communications to address the circumstances, understanding, and motivations of others. Students will understand the benefit they could gain from studying rhetoric and technical communication (as taught, for example, in the UT Department of English).

Presenter Bios:

Dr. Russel Hirst directs the program in technical communication for the Department of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His PhD, in Communication & Rhetoric, is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication and of the African Centre for Science and International Security. His research and publications focus on rhetorical theory, writing style, and document design for science, technology, industry, and government, as well as on international communication for nuclear security. Dr. Hirst edits the International Journal of Nuclear Security, sponsored by the University of Tennessee Institute for Nuclear Security and by his academic department.

Mobile Technologies

presented by Dr. Vandana Singh

Room: Hodges 128                        
Description: This session will demonstrate key concepts covered in Information Sciences as related to Mobile Technologies. As part of this interactive session, students and parents will select and download apps with guidance from SIS faculty. The presenters will use mobile apps and the experience of using them with the concepts taught at the School of Information Sciences, in the new proposed undergraduate degree. The objective of session is to introduce IT as a field to potential students and give some exciting insights into the types of classes and topics they will get to learn when in the program. The interactive part will involve downloading apps and interacting with these apps in a “connected learning” environment, where parents, teachers and students are all engaged with the same app and will learn from each other. The audience will document the experience of interacting with the app and contribute their opinions about the app, the process and the complete user experience.

Presenter Bios:

Dr. Vandana Singh is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor in School of Information Sciences at University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her research interest areas are Use of Information Technology for learning in work places as well in distance education, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Human Computer Interaction and Information Systems.Dr. Singh has received multiple research grants from federal agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and United States Geological Society (USGS). For more information about Dr. Singh and her research, please visit her website at

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