Class Notes: UT students work behind the scenes at Super Bowl LIV, and more education news

Chattanooga Christian School's Julie Daniel Davis and students pose after presenting at Project Voice, an international conference on voice-controlled technology held in Chattanooga in January 2020. From left to right: Kevin Zhou, 9th grade student; Lorraine Hoffman, director of international program at Chattanooga Christian School; Ment Meesuk 11th grade student' Julie Daniel Davis, director of instructional technology and innovation at Chattanooga Christian School; Alisa Zhu 9th grade student; and Loc Pham, 10th grade student. Photo courtesy of Voice in Education/Julie Daniel Davis. Contributed photo/Times Free Press

UT students work behind the scenes at the Super Bowl

On Sunday, as millions of people sat down to watch Super Bowl LIV, nine University of Tennessee at Knoxville students were in Miami, hard at work behind the scenes.

For the 14th year, UT students were able to learn firsthand what it takes to stage such a major event, according to a news release. The group of students, which included five student athletes and four others, majoring in either business, communications, kinesiology or sport management, were at the event, doing everything from taking tickets and holding up signs to throwing footballs with kids at a booth at the NFL Experience.

The students were chosen through an application and interview process. They include Alyssa Andreno, senior in sport management; Erin Gilroy, senior; Ruth Ann Reason, senior; Wade Harrison Sluss, senior; Mariah Nicole Smith, junior; Trey Smith, junior; Mary Joanne Swearingen, senior; Waverly Whiston, junior; and Tyler Harrison Young, junior.

Whiston, who is majoring in accounting and is a member of the UT golf team, said she applied for the trip for a variety of reasons.

"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only do we get to experience what happens at the Super Bowl, but we also have a great networking opportunity for future employment," she said in a release. "An event like this brings in a lot of major companies I hope to someday have the chance to work with. It is also a wonderful experience to be able to work in such a highly intense environment. In the end, I hope to be able to learn how to work efficiently on such a large event and network with a lot of companies that I might not be able to meet normally."

Debbie Mackey, lecturer and coordinator of undergraduate human resources management in the Haslam College of Business at UT, led the group for the sixth time. Ashley Smith, director of student–athlete development at UT's Thornton Athletics Student Life Center, served as a trip leader.

Chattanooga Christian teacher honored by Amazon

Local educator Julie Daniel Davis was recently recognized by Amazon as a 2020 Alexa Champion for her role as director of instructional technology and innovation at Chattanooga Christian School.

Davis is among 63 educators worldwide selected for their work to use emerging technology to enhance learning in the classroom. She has started a pilot program at Chattanooga Christian School that allows teachers to use the Amazon Echo Dot voice-controlled speaker or the Kids Edition Echo Dot in their classrooms.

"Alexa Champions is a recognition program designed to honor the most engaged developers and contributors in the community. Through their passion and knowledge for Alexa, these individuals continue to educate and inspire other developers in the community - both online and offline," according to a news release.

Davis has also created a podcast, "Voice in Education," where she shares information each week about voice-related technologies with educators. Davis and some of her students recently presented at Project Voice, an international conference held in Chattanooga earlier this month.

Black History Month Poetry Contest deadline near

Hamilton County students in grades 1-12 still have time to to enter EPB's 16th annual Black History Month Poetry Contest in honor of Black History Month this February.

Students attending public and private schools as well as those who are home-schooled are eligible to enter the contest, which is separated into four age categories. Students can research a range of topics including historical events and figures to write their poems on, including Bessie Smith, Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, the Tuskegee Airmen and Simone Biles.

The deadline to enter the contest is 5 p.m. on Feb. 7. Winning students and their teachers will receive $100 and will be invited to attend the EPB Black History Month Awards Banquet.

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