The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Governor's Schools

Common STEM in the Morning

Welcome to the Governor's School

STEM in Society

Science and the environment. Science impinges on modern society in more ways than anyone can imagine. For example, most of the things which improve the quality of our lives are made of chemicals which are made in chemical plants such as Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee. Many of these same things unfortunately also often have led indirectly to environmental degradation including water pollution, acid rain, smog, ozone depletion, and global warming, to name a few. Although people in the past weren't aware of humanity's profound impact on the earth, or didn't care, we know better today and can do better. We have in our power to eliminate or significantly reduce our numerous environmental problems. Scientists are in the forefront in solving these problems.

In this course, we will examine together the science of the environment, including the science of the earth in the absence of people, with an emphasis on environmental chemistry, which is concerned with the effect that chemicals used in our civilization have had on the planet, and green chemistry, a new field devoted to finding and developing methods to carry out chemistry in an environmentally friendly manner.

Course Requirements

STEM Skills

Virtually everything in today's society interfaces with computers. By necessity, tomorrow's scientists and engineers will need to be very conversant with a wide range of computer related technologies. This class will focus on providing students with exposure to a many different technology applications via fun, hands-on projects involving programming, 3D modeling, 3D-printing, mobile application development, engineering design, technical communications, data processing, image processing, microprocessor control, and robotics.

Course Requirements

The criteria for assigning grades for the course are the following:

Passing grade for the course: C

Course Instructors

Dr. Richard Pagni, Course Director

Dr. Richard PagniRichard Pagni, a native of Chicago, received his BA degree from Northwestern University in 1963 and his PhD degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1968.  After spending fifteen months as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, he stated his academic career at the University of Tennessee in 1969 from whence he retired in 2007.  His research has dealt with photochemistry, physical aspects of organic chemistry, and environmental and green chemistry.  In more recent years he has investigated unusual aspects of chirality including the origin of optically active molecules on the pre-biotic world.  At various times in his career he has worked at and consulted with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Since his retirement, he has devoted his efforts to the history and philosophy of science.

Dr. Lila Holt, Course Director

Lila HoltDr. Lila Holt is a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She also teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Education. Her interests include finding ways to better use technologies for learning and for life. Rapid advancements in computers and technology create a need for adaptation for learning and for life skills. Her research covers using technology, including the web and multimedia, for effective communication for instruction and for work place excellence.

William Schleter, Course Director

William SchleterWill Schleter (B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Missouri, Rolla, MS Instructional Technology, University of Tennessee) is a Lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals Division at the University of Tennessee where he teaches subjects such as Engineering Graphics, Computer Aided Design, Programming, Physics, Statics, and Dynamics. Mr. Schleter's special interests include teaching, instructional technology, programming, sports, and, most importantly, his wife and two daughters.

Yazeed Alkhrijah, Teaching Assistant

Yazeed AlkhrijahYazeed Alkhrijah is an Electrical Engineering student working toward his M.S. degree at the University of Tennessee. He received his B.S. from King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, with honors. He worked at Saudi Aramco as an instrument engineer. He joined UT in 2014 and will graduate by the summer of 2017. He was elected president of the Saudi Arabian Student Association in Knoxville. His hobbies include hiking, kayaking, soccer, and outdoor activities.

Taylor Berger, Teaching Assistant

Taylor BergerTaylor Berger is a current sophomore at the University of Tennessee studying Biomedical Engineering. Outside of school she enjoys swimming and working on the family farm.


Justin Condon, Teaching Assistant

Justin CondonI am a Senior majoring in Civil Engineering with concentrations in Environmental and Water Resources. I am from Sevierville, TN. I am an officer for The American Society of Civil Engineers and I worked with their concrete canoe team this past semester. I have worked in The University of Tennessee Engineering Fundamental’s Innovation of Collaboration Studio for the past few years. When not busy with school I like to go hiking, swimming, and playing video games.

Matthew Geiger, Teaching Assistant

Matthew GeigerMatthew is a senior at the University of Tennessee working on a major in Physics with a general concentration. He is also pursuing a second major in Philosophy with an emphasis on ethics. Originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan, Matthew served for seven years in the United States Navy before settling in Knoxville. In his free time he volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, mentoring a local youth. Matthew also enjoys sports and hiking with his dog Maggie.

Erica Allen, Teaching Assistant

EricaAllenMy name is Erica Allen and I am a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. I study sedimentology with Chris Fedo focusing on Martian analog sediment and image analyses. I have a BS in Geology and a MS in Secondary Science Education. I am currently pursuing a MS in Geology. I have taught Chemistry and Geology at the L&N STEM Academy and 6th grade science at Gresham Middle School. I also teach Environmental Geology at the University of Tennessee as a Teacher's Assistant. I have an 11 year old son and two Jack Russells. I enjoy running and gardening in my free time. I look forward to teaching at the Governor's School this summer!


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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System