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Starting today, thirty high school students from the Southeast will learn about office etiquette, personal finance, the business world, and potential careers at a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, summer camp.

The Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) program, which runs through June 23, allows students from communities underrepresented in the business world to explore career opportunities. The program, which is free to students, is in its fifth year.

Students will take part in team-building activities such as a ropes course and take field trips to Alcoa, PepsiCo, PetSafe, the Knoxville Mayor’s office, and accounting firm Dixon Hughes in Asheville.

While on campus, the students, from Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi, will hear from faculty members and business experts. They will learn about various majors offered in UT’s College of Business Administration, including accounting, finance, marketing, economics, human resource management, public administration, enterprise management, supply chain management, and business analytics.

Students will also work on their writing and learn more about options available to fund their education.

The week will conclude with the marketplace competition, a team-based, business-simulation game that allows the students to run a company as business professionals.

More than 119 high school students from four states have participated in the program. Of the eighty-nine students who have already completed the program, about fifty students are now or will be attending UT.

The program is a great recruiting tool, said Tyvi Small, the business college’s coordinator of diversity initiatives.

“We view the BETS program as a perfect opportunity to introduce high school students to all of what our college has to offer and allow them to get a sneak peek of what college life is like,” he said.

This year’s participants are rising seniors with at least a 3.5 grade point average who were nominated by counselors or community members. The thirty students represent twenty-three high schools, and thirteen cities.

Funding for the 2012 BETS program is provided by the PepsiCo Foundation as part of its $350,000 five-year grant to the college’s diversity efforts.

Story and photo opportunities during BETS are as follows:

Friday, June 15

10:40 to 11:15 a.m. – Tour of Radio Systems/PetSafe, 10427 Electric Avenue.

Tuesday, June 19

Noon to 1:20 p.m. – Meeting at Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero’s office and Russ Jensen, director of the 311 call center, City County Building

Wednesday, June 20

11:30 a.m. to noon – Alcoa Energy and Metals Trading Floor, 900 Gay Street

Saturday, June 23

10:30 a.m. to noon – Marketplace competition presentations, 203 Haslam Business Building.

For more information about the College of Business Administration, visit the website.


Cindy Raines (865-974-4359,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,