Big Orange STEM Saturday for Middle and High School Students on April 7
March 21, 2018

High school, middle school, and early college students can explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at Big Orange STEM Saturday (BOSS), April 7, on the University of Tennessee campus. Students — and their parents — are invited to attend the mini-conference from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the John C. Hodges Library, 1015 Volunteer Boulevard.

The event is free, but participants should register online by April 2.

The keynote activity will be “Creating Video Games like a BOSS,” presented by Mark Baggett, head of digital initiatives at the UT Libraries. Participants will learn the basics of programming in a hands-on activity using PICO-8 code and sprite graphics.

Leading up tothe keynote event, students can attend two of the following 30-minute “breakout” sessions of their choice on topics such as:

  • Aerospace engineering from the perspective of an engineer who worked on the Space Shuttle
  • How origami has been used to design heart stents, paper-thin batteries, and solar power systems
  • How forensic odontologists help solve crimes by identifying bite marks
  • Exploring the science behind food
  • How to communicate your research ideas to the “bigwigs”
  • Using mobile apps to collaborate and create

Attendees can also participate in discussion sessions featuring current UT students who are pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Students from the Tickle College of Engineering will talk about their personal experiences with study abroad programs, internships, co-ops, and research assistantships and will guide a problem-solving exercise to demonstrate how engineers work. STEM majors from ASPIRE (Appalachian Students Promoting the Integration of Research in Education) will talk about their experiences as first-generation college students from rural Appalachian towns.

Descriptions of breakout session are available here. (Register to select your preferred breakout sessions.)

Representatives from various STEM curricula at UT and local STEM-related businesses and organizations will be on hand to answer questions. Exhibitors include Arconic, UT Biosystems Engineering and Soil Sciences, UT Food Sciences, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Services, Knoxville Zoo, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, UT Office of Undergraduate Admissions, UT’s Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library, Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, UT Institute of Nuclear Security, and VolsTeach (a teacher-preparation program for undergraduates in STEM fields). A couple of highlights will be the L&N STEMpunks robotics team’s robot demonstration and the UT Institute of Nuclear Security’s drone presentation.

Big Orange STEM Saturday is presented annually at UT’s John C. Hodges Library. This year’s conference is co-hosted by the UT Libraries and CAPS (the College Access and Persistence Services Outreach Center).

For further information, please contact Thura Mack, Coordinator of Community Learning Services & Diversity Programs, UT Libraries (865-974-6381,

Parking information and directions to the John C. Hodges Library