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Odds are, if you are a high school student who attends the Bechtel High School Introduction to Engineering Systems (HITES) at UT, this summer, you are going to leave wanting to major in engineering. Last year, 86 percent of the seniors who attended the program decided to major in engineering once they are enrolled in a university. Seventy-seven percent planned to study engineering at UT.

The HITES summer program for rising eleventh and twelfth- graders will take place in two sessions, July 15–20 and July 22–27. The program is geared for students underrepresented in the field, such as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, and females. They must have at least a B average in both math and science to apply.

HITES has provided a summer engineering experience since 2001. The program provides an introduction to engineering, showcases the applications of math and science, and helps students understand what engineers do.

“Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the disciplines offered for career options,” said Travis Griffin, director of the Engineering Diversity Program Office, which coordinates the summer programs. “Sessions may include meeting with faculty and graduate students, learning about emphasis areas in each discipline, touring research labs, or participating in an experiment or activity.”

Participants spend a week on campus and get exposure to all seven engineering departments. They also attend sessions on financial aid, campus life, and how to apply to the college.

“We plan to teach the students some basic engineering concepts to help them understand what engineering is, as well as help them prepare to enter the College of Engineering,” said Richard Bennett, director of the Engage Freshman Engineering program at UT and coordinator of curriculum content for the pre-college summer programs.

This year, students are also working on projects with researchers in the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT). CURENT focuses on research, education, and technology for sustainable energy systems with an emphasis on power transmission systems.

“CURENT is thrilled to participate in the College of Engineering’s summer programs, and we’ve worked hard to put together an exciting design project for the students,” said Adam Hardebeck, communications specialist with CURENT. “Students will be creating a micro-grid, and they will piece various components together each day to build a small, self-sustaining neighborhood.”

Bechtel is the corporate sponsor for this year’s program.

All students from the region who have met standards for applications are welcome to apply. For more details on HITES and other summer engineering programs, visit the College of Engineering website.

C O N T A C T:

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,

Travis Griffin (865-974-1931,

Kim Cowart (865-974-0686,