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The MEGA:BITESS Academy is designed for secondary-and high school educators who teach courses related to STEM. Thus far 15 educators from East Tennessee completed a year of training and then enrolled in a second year to become mentors. They teach across the sciences; some advise student STEM-related clubs. Educators must apply to the Academy in February for the 11-month commitment. Those selected to participate and completing academy-related products (e.g., lesson plans) will receive a stipend to assist with travel and their time. 

Image: Educators from Oak Ridge Anderson School system are learning to count eggs and identify mosquitoes.

Academy Schedule

February – Apply for the Academy cohort

June – Attend a 5-day workshop (M-F) at the University of Tennessee Knoxville

Concurrent with Mosquito Awareness Week, the last week in June

February – Attend a one-day, Saturday workshop on geospatial analysis at UT.

April – Attend a one-day, Saturday workshop on science communication at UT.

Concurrent with World Malaria Day (~April 25)

What you will do:

​At the Academy, you’ll learn about medical entomology – specifically, Aedes mosquitoes, whose bites are responsible for transmitting La Crosse virus (LACV). The virus can cause La Crosse encephalitis (LACE), a debilitating and potentially fatal disease in children and adolescents. LACE isn’t a very common disease, but it is serious.

Teach your students about the scientific method by educating them on Aedes mosquitoes and their habits, then develop research questions and hypotheses about oviposition (where they lay eggs). For example, will you find more eggs in shady areas or sunny areas? MEGA:BITESS will provide you will traps for collecting the eggs and teach you to identify and count them. As a bonus, your research contributes to larger-scale studies conducted at the University of Tennessee.


You’ll learn how to create geospatial analysis maps to illustrate your class’s findings. Maps provide a terrific context for students because they can see how their research contributes to the greater body of knowledge.

Finally, MEGA:BITESS Academy helps you learn to educate your students about science communication. What can your class’s study results tell your local community about LACE incidence and how to prevent it? The Academy strives to demonstrate how scientific research – including yours – can inform the public about potential risk.​

Image: Educators from Sevier, Union, and Hamilton counties are discussing strategies to incorporate entomology and GIS into their units and lessons.

What you will go away with:

  • Knowledge of how to understand and apply medical entomology, geospatial analysis, and science communication. 

  • Firsthand science and career information from prominent experts in these fields.

  • Ideas for plans to develop a short unit about these topics in your course’s curriculum.

  • You build your own lesson plans customized to your school and classes, yet adaptable for others.

  • A new network of other educators interested in similar topics.

Image: Educators from Bearden Middle School are setting their first ovitraps along a Knoxville greenway.

Medical Entomology & Geospatial Analyses:
Bringing Innovation To Teacher Education & Surveillance Studies

Preventing La Crosse Infections in Tennessee Children

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