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UT Libraries will host Big Orange STEM Saturday for high school and first-year college students from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2.

Students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics and their parents are invited to attend the event in the John C. Hodges Library, 1015 Volunteer Boulevard.

Big Orange STEM Saturday is free, but participants should register online by Friday, March 25.

STEM Saturday will begin with a keynote presentation by chemist and educator Tam’Ra Kay Francis. Francis, who was once the youngest faculty member in the chemistry department at Fisk University, is committed to improving STEM instruction and mentoring budding young scientists. She is a doctoral candidate in science education at UT.

Following the keynote presentation, students can attend two of four breakout sessions:

  • Current UT students will talk about the different majors available in the College of Engineering and their personal experiences with study abroad, internships, co-ops, and research assistantships, followed by a hands-on activity demonstrating how engineers solve problems.
  • A professional in the field of digital humanities will show students how scientists are collaborating with artists and others in humanities disciplines to create innovative, relevant, and exciting projects.
  • Staff from UT’s Center for Career Development will tell students how to expedite the move from classroom to workforce.
  • Another session will highlight the importance of mathematical skills in all STEM careers. Participants will practice some of these skills by solving math puzzles.

Exhibitors will include university STEM programs, Texas Instruments, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Students and parents will be able to talk with staff from UT programs that foster student success such as VolsTeach, a teacher preparation program for undergraduates in STEM fields, and RISER (Research and Instructional Strategies for Engineering Retention), which targets freshmen engineering students who need to boost their math skills.


Thura Mack (865-974-6381,

Ingrid Ruffin (865-974-3513,