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Jason Smith to Speak at Institute’s Black History Celebration on April 26

“The Vision of Change” will be Jason Kentrell Smith’s topic as featured speaker at The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s “Black History” celebration at 10 a.m. April 26.

He lives in Shelbyville and is employed with the Fort Campbell, Ky., branch of Systems Integration/Modeling and Simulation Inc. (SIM&S).

“We especially invite students because Mr. Smith is a young man with a story to share with your youth,” said Patricia A. Burks-Jelks, Director of Human Resources, Affirmative Action, and Services at UTSI. She also is advisor of  UTSI’s Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), which she notes “has worked diligently through the years to maintain aggressive schedules and programs.”

One of the chapter’s “most vital outreach activities is our involvement with NSBE Jr. chapters at Franklin County High School in Winchester and Tullahoma High School,” Burks-Jelks said. “Our goal is to increase the students’ exposure to careers in science and engineering while also providing mentoring and academic assistance.”

The event, to be held in UTSI’s auditorium, is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow in the Institute’s lobby.

The Alpha and Omega Mime and Dance Team will perform during the program as will other presenters. Prizes will be awarded to winners of an essay contest open to members of the two NSBE junior chapters.

Traditionally, the Space Institute celebrates Black History during February, but it was postponed this year due to “various circumstances beyond our control,” Burks-Jelks said.

Smith attended Shelbyville Central High School where he was a two-year starter, team captain, and received various awards for his performance on the men’s basketball team. He graduated in 2001 and entered the University of the South in Sewanee. While there, he was a member of numerous clubs and organizations including Gamma Sigma Phi and the African American Alliance.

As a member of the Sewanee Men’s basketball team, Smith received recognition on the SCAC All-Conference team in 2003 and 2005, the years he led his teammates in scoring and rebounds, and performed as a four-year varsity starter. He served as team captain his senior year, and scored more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds during his career.

While at Sewanee, Smith interned with Systems Integration/Modeling and Simulation on two occasions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2005 in computer science.