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UT Helps Keep America Safe

Category: Advocacy

UT President Joe DiPietro and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE – From working on nuclear security to operating a regional biocontainment laboratory to active shooter response training and more, the University of Tennessee is helping keep America safe.

Every UT campus and institute plays a role in ensuring America’s safety was the message students and faculty shared during today’s 11th UT Day on the Hill. The yearly event is intended to boost legislative awareness of the work of students and entities from throughout the UT System that fulfills the University’s mission to educate, discover and connect.

Rebecca Beebe, a junior nursing major at UT Chattanooga, knows her participation in the ROTC program has helped her with the nursing program’s competitive entry and her future career serving the nation in the military.

“The Army gives me so many opportunities to get training in the medical field,” she said. “You can pair up with an officer who is already an Army nurse so you get more field training than simply in the nursing program.”

Such students’ stories demonstrate the return on investment of state dollars, said Carey Whitworth, UT director of advocacy.

“This event is a reminder of that and a way to highlight that,” she said.


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The University plays a significant role in public safety with projects that span across the campuses and institutes.

At UT Knoxville, the Institute of Nuclear Security with Howard Hall, Governor’s Chair for Global Nuclear Security, developed mobile radiation technology, which helps guard against radioactive threats. The Sim Center at UT Chattanooga has worked on multiple projects in aerospace and weapons design for federal agencies and industrial companies.

UT scientists research biodefense and emerging infectious diseases at UT Health Science Center’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, one of only 12 such facilities nationwide. UT Martin is one of just three partners of the American Security Project, which immerses select students in national security policy analysis and research. The UT Institute of Agriculture’s Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness works to protect the nation’s food supply from terrorist threats and promotes safe food production. The Institute for Public Service’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center is responding to increased requests for active shooter response training, which is offered to law enforcement and businesses.

A $1 million investment by the state of Tennessee is helping the UT Space Institute build a new Mach 4 wind tunnel, which will be among the largest high-speed tunnels in universities, and is critical to researching hypersonic systems – those that travel more than five times the speed of sound. Hypersonic systems play a vital role in national defense and future space access.

“Aerospace defense is increasingly important in the state of Tennessee. It’s the fourth largest driver in Tennessee’s economy. UTSI is gearing up to support the state with new discoveries and innovative technologies that will ensure that aerospace defense will flourish in Tennessee,” said John Schmisseur, H. H. Arnold Chair in Computational Fluid Dynamics and B. H. Goethert Professor with the UT Space Institute.

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT system manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 50,000 students statewide; produces about 10,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 370,000 alumni around the world.

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Category: Advocacy