Registration open for 2020 “Great Smokies Experience” at MC

*The Great Smokies Experience program has been cancelled for 2020

Registration open for “Great Smokies Experience” at MC

Feb. 11, 2020

Registration is now open for Maryville College’s Great Smokies Experience summer 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 16 until July 27 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. Andrew Gunnoe, assistant professor of sociology at Maryville College and coordinator of the Great Smokies Experience, said the program shows how various disciplines – environmental science, history and social sciences, for example – can be harnessed in order to understand the complex relationship between society and the natural environment. 

“A central theme of this class is the idea that there is a fundamental connection between the social and natural worlds – and that understanding this relationship is critical for issues of sustainability and justice in the 21st century,” Gunnoe said. 

Additional course instructors include John DiDiego, education director at Tremont; Bruce Guillaume '76, founder and director of Mountain Challenge; Dr. Mark O’Gorman, professor of political science and coordinator of the College’s environmental studies program; and Dr. Doug Sofer, associate professor of history.

The course is divided into three sections and covers a range of topics, including history, ecosystems and nationalism. 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,” Gunnoe 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 $1,499 and includes tuition, fees, 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 (the deadline for this grant is typically in mid-May for summer classes, but make sure you apply for the correct time period of Summer 2020).

Space is limited, so those interested are encouraged to apply now. The deadline to apply is May 10, 2020. Priority consideration will be given to early applicants.

For more information, contact Gunnoe at or visit the website at

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”