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KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Governor’s Academy for Mathematics and Science has named its incoming class for the 2008-09 academic year.

The 33 high school juniors are only the second class of students selected to take part in the academy, managed by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, which recently completed its inaugural year.

Chosen from more than 150 applicants, the class of students represents some of Tennessee’s brightest young minds. Members of the class come from 25 different counties across the state.

“All of these young people have distinguished themselves, even at this early stage in their lives,” said TGA’s executive director, Vena Long. “In the selection process, they showed not just talent, but passion for math and science.”

The academy was founded in 2007 by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who earned a degree in physics from Harvard University before embarking on a career in business and public service.

“Science and technology are key to a huge part of the economy. I’d like to make Tennessee a leader in these fields, and I hope that this school will make that happen,” Bredesen said last fall during a visit to the academy.

TGA students live and learn in cottages on the campus of the Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) in Knoxville, but their learning experience reaches far beyond the borders of the campus. Students are paired with researchers at UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to conduct research over the course of the year.

Students participate in educational field trips that take them from Memphis to the Great Smoky Mountains to learn about topics from archaeology to geography. This year, students will gain global perspective with a trip to China in the spring.

Long, who also serves as the associate dean in UT’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, likens the TGA experience to a “yearlong field trip.” The academy features an innovative curriculum of learning modules — two- and three-week sessions built around critical scientific questions.

“Our goal with TGA is to give these students who have shown a desire to pursue a life in science and math a completely singular experience that will prepare them not only for college but for a life of pursuing knowledge,” Long said.

Students are admitted to the two-year TGA program as juniors. More information is available about TGA on the Web at

Key partners in the Tennessee Governor’s Academy include UT, TSD, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee State Board of Education, ORNL and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Among the members of the class are:

– Elizabeth Ashby, Harpeth High School, Kingston Springs
– Angela Belic, Bearden High School, Knoxville
– Chrisqueria Bragg, Craigmont High School, Memphis
– Jordan Brown, Clinton High School, Clinton
– Katelyn Bunch, Watertown High School, Watertown
– Edie Carpenter, Munford High School, Drummonds
– Ashley Coke, Farragut High School, Knoxville
– Elizabeth Conner, Sevier County High School, Sevierville
– Roan Davenport, Austin-East Magnet High School, Knoxville
– Jessica Droke, Arlington High School, Arlington
– Yiru Gu, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge
– Kelsey Handley, Hardin County High School, Adamsville
– Dylan Harper, Sequatchie County High School, Pikeville
– Keller Hawkins, Hillsboro High School, Nashville
– Deborah Higdon, First Assembly Christian School, Cordova
– Will Hubbs, Camden Central High School, Camden
– Logan Inman, Brighton High School, Atoka
– Kaysie Jennings, Watertown High School, Watertown
– Keerthigan Kanagasegar, Cumberland County High School, Crossville
– Lauren Lytle, Warren County High School, McMinnville
– Zachary Odom, DeKalb County High School, Smithville
– Nick Paladini, East Robertson High School, Springfield
– Ryan Sahni, Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport
– Matthew Stanifer, Morristown Hamblen East High School, Russellville
– Nathan Steyer, Blackman High School, Murfreesboro
– Adi Suresh, Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport
– Matthew Taylor, University School of Jackson, Jackson
– Shawn Taylor, Summertown High School, Summertown
– Cody Vaughn, Trousdale County High School, Castalian Springs
– Allie Webb, Walker Valley High School, Cleveland
– Ryan Welch, White House High School, Cottontown
– Tim Wilder, Ripley High School, Ripley



Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,