Registration open for summer 2018 “Great Smokies Experience” at MC

Registration open for summer 2018 “Great Smokies Experience” at MC

Feb. 28, 2018

Registration is now open for Maryville College’s Great Smokies Experience summer 2018 program, a one-of-a-kind, credit-bearing, introductory college experience for rising high school juniors and seniors, as well as recent high school graduates.

This year’s program will take place July 19 until July 30, 2018 on the College’s campus and at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, a residential environmental learning center located on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

In addition to the once-in-a-lifetime experience, students who complete the course will earn credit for a three-hour Introduction to Environmental Issues and Sustainability Studies (ENV/SUS 101) class from Maryville College.

Dr. Doug Sofer, associate professor of history at Maryville College and coordinator of the Great Smokies Experience, said the program shows how various disciplines – environmental science, history, political science and social psychology, for example – connect deeply to the environment.

“Central to this class is the theme that a connection to our natural environment is fundamental to who we are; it is a core component of our very identity,” Sofer said.

Additional course instructors include John DiDiego, education director at Tremont; Dr. Mark O’Gorman, professor of political science and coordinator of the College’s environmental studies program; and Bruce Guillaume, founder and director of Mountain Challenge.

The course is divided into three sections and covers a range of topics including ecology, sustainability and gaining an understanding of a sense of place. Students will spend the majority of the two-week course living in the national park at Tremont, and the remainder will take place on the Maryville College campus and other important Southern Appalachia sites.

This summer’s program will include a variety of activities. Participants will trek up Mt. LeConte, explore the National Park at night, canoe to the Tellico Reservoir, discover the Maryville College Woods and tackle important environmental questions in the classroom.

Students will also participate in Mountain Challenge, an on-campus program that seeks to build teamwork, enhance communication and teach problem-solving skills through outdoor experiences.

“Our students love being outdoors, making new friends, and experiencing the diversity of wildlife the Smokies have to offer,” Sofer said. “They really come to appreciate how spectacular this place is by the time they’re through."

The entire per-student cost of the program is $1,195 and includes tuition, room and board, all special events and transportation for the duration of the class. Students in the state of Tennessee may be able to apply for a Dual Enrollment Grant of up to $500 to offset this cost.

Space is limited, so those interested are encouraged to apply now. Preference will be given to early applicants.

For more information, contact Sofer at or 865.981.8265 or visit the website at

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.