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ETSU’s Roan Scholars Leadership Program tours Boone Dam

Contributed • Nov 1, 2019 at 4:48 PM

Members of East Tennessee State University’s Roan Scholars toured the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Boone Dam earlier this month to learn more about the dam’s functions, interior and challenges.

The Roan Scholars Leadership Program empowers students to be leaders of excellence who will positively impact the ETSU campus, the region and our world.

“Our program really focuses on the out-of-classroom experience. We are always looking for opportunities to introduce Roan Scholars to people, places, ideas and organizations in our region that are doing important tasks that otherwise we wouldn’t be exposed to,” said Scott Jeffress, Director of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program.

Senior Program Manager, Civil Engineering, Veronica Barredo, taught students about TVA’s history and the construction of Boone Dam and provided a lesson on dam safety. Students were also informed about Boone Dam’s sinkhole repairs and TVA’s priorities that focus on safety for the downstream public, safety of its workers and high quality in Boone Dam’s thorough repair.

Roan Scholars then observed the repair of Boone Dam in person at the tour’s construction overlook and saw the repair measures they were taught earlier; this included lowering the water level in Boone Lake, filling in the sinkhole, installing filters to block eroding seepage points and placing a concrete wall underground to cut off water seepage.

Students then visited Boone Dam’s control room and learned about the dam’s primary functions that included flood control of the South Fork of the Holston River and generating hydroelectric power from the river’s current supplying roughly 46,000 houses with power.

Tiffany Cook, a junior public health major in the Roan, described how important activities like the Boone Dam are for Roan Scholars saying, “In situations like the sinkhole at Boone Dam, which is a critical issue, you have to learn how to lead and take charge and better serve those around you.”

Touring the Boone Dam is only one example of ETSU’s leadership program taking students off campus. Connor McClelland, a junior Roan Scholar majoring in history, shared other Roan Scholar trips he’s been on saying, “We went to Washington D.C. for a week, toured the capitol and went to the Library of Congress, met with an expert in epidemics, business leaders and (U.S. Sen.) Marsha Blackburn. There are lots of opportunities. In terms of tours or events, we have at least five a semester.”

The Roan offers a comprehensive four-year program of out-of-the-classroom experiences and provides funding for tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies for all Roan Scholars. Applicants for the Roan Program must be graduating high school seniors who are nominated from eligible high schools or residing in eligible counties if homeschooled.

For more information about the Roan Scholars Program, go to https://roanscholars.org or contact 423-439-7677 or [email protected]

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