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Summer Pre-College Program

The Learn Grow Lead summer pre-college program focuses on food, nutrition, and agriculture in the community. It is a day-only program designed to give high school students a jumpstart in learning about college and exploring careers. We offer students two full days on campus and 7-8 full days at a community site with support and mentorship of a graduate student in nutrition, a site coordinator, and a project manager. During the community experience, students will complete a leadership project to benefit the community site and have the opportunity to earn college credit! This opportunity is open to students who will be 10th -12th graders next year.

We don’t want cost to be a barrier to participating, so there is NO COST to selected applicants. The program will even provide lunch daily and a gas card to offset the cost of transportation to campus and community sites. The program may be able to provide some transportation if there is a need.

SESSION 1 DATES 2023: June 20-23 and 26-30, 2023

SESSION 2 DATES 2023: July 17-21 and 24-28, 2023

Learn Grow Lead is designed especially for high school students in the Knoxville area who are interested in exploring college life and potential careers that focus on food, nutrition, and agriculture in the community. Priority will be given to students at local Flagship high schools (Austin-East, Central, and Fulton), but students from other area high schools are also eligible to apply. To be eligible for the Summer session, students must be in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade next year.

To be considered for admission to this program, students must submit an application and all components by the deadline. Access the application on this site or pick up a copy from your school’s guidance counselor.

Applications for Summer 2023 will open in February 2023.

Priority deadline: March 24, 2023

Second deadline: April 5, 2023

Applications received after April 5 will be considered on a space available basis.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program, award #2022-04320.

On campus days: Participating students will spend two days on campus to get a taste of campus life here at UT.

Day 1:
On the first day of the session, students will have a student-led campus tour and eat lunch as a group in the Student Union food court, participate in team building activities, learn about the local food and agriculture environment and how this impacts the health of our community, and prepare for field placements and projects.

Day 9 (session 1) or 10 (session 2):
On the final day of the session, students will share their project presentations with the group and have lunch together as a group in the Student Union food court. They will also hear from:

  • Undergraduate Admissions about the college application timeline and process.
  • The Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration about career planning and choosing a major.
  • The director of the Nutrition program who will share information about the nutrition major options.
  • The Office of Student Life about how to prepare for success in college and demystifying the transition from high school to college life.
  • Nutrition instructor Lee Murphy about what you can expect from our Introductory Nutrition course – the gateway course to the major AND a UT natural science course – if you choose to take it as a high school student.
  • Nutrition students will host a panel discussion about their experience – the life of a college student.

Days 2-8 or 9 Community sites:
Students will be placed at one of four community sites – Beardsley Community Farm, Nourish Knoxville, Second Harvest Food Bank, or UT Extension. While there, students will work closely with site supervisors who work at the site, UT Nutrition students, and our program coordinator to get familiar with their sites and develop their projects. Descriptions of the site options are listed below.

Beardsley Community Farm is a farm in the city that helps people in Knoxville and Knox County have enough to eat and promotes a healthy community. They do this by providing land, seedlings, and garden supplies, and teaching people how to grow, pick, and prepare fruits and vegetables. They also share fruits and vegetables they grow with food pantries. Student projects may be something like providing nutrition education at summer camps, leading taste testing of fruits and vegetables, and making nutrition education materials and recipe cards.

Nourish Knoxville helps to connect local farmers and food producers with the people of Knoxville to help make a healthier community. They are most visible in the community through farmers’ markets they operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays downtown on Market Square, Thursdays at New Harvest Park, and Sundays at Walter Hardy Park. Students who work with Nourish Knoxville will have the opportunity to participate in the farmers’ markets and student projects will help support the farmers’ markets and programs such as the Nourish Kids program that helps kids learn about the local food system and get produce bucks to spend at the market! Due to the varied locations of the markets, this will involve some travel to downtown during the day on Wednesdays and the option to include other days/locations.

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee is leading the community in the fight to end hunger in East Tennessee. Second Harvest feeds children, adults, and seniors through multiple feeding programs and 630+ community partners. Good EaTN Cooking Club, a branch of the Nutrition Access Program, is a 3-day, in-person cooking club in which participants receive nutrition education and kitchen skills training. The club works to inspire creativity and confidence in a fun, engaging environment to help each participant develop a healthy relationship with food and cooking. Students working with Second Harvest will assist the Nutrition Educator and graduate students in setting up and running a club session. Students who choose to work with Second Harvest will be required to travel to Maryville for off-campus days.

At UT Extension, you’ll learn to help Tennesseans choose and prepare nutritious foods, eat well on a budget, and learn how to help people have enough to eat. Students have developed nutrition education resources for community members, helped conduct needs assessments, and provided nutrition education training for UT Extension agents. Culminating projects for students placed at UT Extension would build upon this foundation.

Getting college credit: Students selected for the summer course will be admitted to UT as non-degree seeking students. Earning 2 college credit hours and a grade is an amazing opportunity for students to showcase college readiness, but it is completely optional.  Students who DO successfully complete the summer course and wish to have the course and grade on a UT transcript can do so at no cost.

All students selected for enrollment will have access to the course Canvas site-this is the same platform used by Knox County Schools.

NUTR 100 Introductory Nutrition: Students who successfully complete the summer course and choose to earn a grade and 2 credit hours will have a second opportunity to earn 3 additional college credits! NUTR 100 Introductory Nutrition is a fully online course without a scheduled meeting time.  That means it is flexible to work with high school course schedules. Just like the summer course, only students who choose to do so at the end of the course will earn a grade and credit on a UT transcript.  Students will get details of this extra opportunity at the end of the summer course

Apply Today!

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