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Where in the World is Smokey?

Studying Microbiology in the Mojave Desert

David and Elaine Bryant of Los Gatos, Calif., are both UT Knoxville alumni. She received a bachelor's degree in physics in 1978. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering (1977) and a master's degree in electrical engineering (1978). They sent this photo from their trip to the Mojave Desert in California in April 2008.

"The expanse of jumbled black rock in the background is the remnant of a lava flow produced from the nearby Cima Volcanic Field," David Bryant wrote.

"We were in the Mojave to take part in the Spaceward Bound science outreach project sponsored by NASA. Elaine is currently a graduate student and instructor in microbiology at San Jose State University. Her research into bacteria capable of living in extreme environments is funded by NASA and they had asked her to be a researcher in the Spaceward Bound program. I went along as her lab assistant and to enjoy exploring the desert.

"This picture -- with me in my "Where's Smokey?" T-shirt and Elaine in a Lady Vols T-shirt -- was taken the morning after the Lady Vols won the 2008 NCAA National Championship. We'd worn our UT regalia the night before to cheer the Lady Vols on to victory and packed additional for the day after to celebrate what we were sure would be their eighth women's national title. (Alas, there was no TV at our remote location in the Mojave so we couldn't actually watch the game but did manage to keep track using our cell phones.)

"Our daughter, Camille, is a freshman in journalism at UT Knoxville. She represents the fourth generation UT student across our combined families."


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