BTN Communications, January 2, 2014

CHICAGO - A new season of the television series BTN LiveBIG debuts Jan. 8, with stories about the community of Big Ten students, faculty and alumni who are making a difference in the world through innovations in research, education and community service. The first episode features Illinois.

The 12-episode series will include two exceptional stories per school. Throughout the season, viewers will learn about a former Big Ten defensive back achieving his dreams of becoming a NASA astronaut, a strength-and-conditioning coach and his courageous fight following a paralyzing bicycle accident and an engineering class created to help a 13-year-old girl with cerebral palsy communicate better.

In its second season, BTN has expanded the online hub for the show,, to feature additional daily content from each school as well as curate conversations surrounding these motivating people and programs from the BTN LiveBIG Facebook and Twitter pages.

?Since its inception, BTN LiveBIG has been a great way to share positive stories coming out of Big Ten universities, both on and off the field,? BTN Vice President of Marketing Erin Harvego said.  ?The show could not possibly capture all of inspiring things happening at these schools, so it is only natural that we continue to share even more stories online at

Daily online content began rolling out on the website earlier this fall and soon readers can expect to hear from current Big Ten students through the on-campus BTN LiveBIG program called ?Share a Solution.? The solutions-based journalism initiative encourages student journalists to investigate and report on how people from their respective schools are creating credible responses to social problems.

The BTN LiveBIG lineup is as follows. All times are Eastern.

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 11:30 PMIllinois showcases one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, Blue Waters, and a team of researchers that are using this powerful machine in the fight against HIV.  Viewers then head to outer space, where former Illinois football captain and current astronaut Mike Hopkins inspires the Fighting Illini community from millions of miles away at the International Space Station.

Monday, Jan. 13, 11 PM Penn State takes viewers into the world of parasites and the creation of ?Zombie Ants? - a phenomenon that has wreaked havoc on the ant population.   The episode will also showcase the success of the Nittany Lion Ability Athletics program.  A program that encourages disabled students to participate in recreational and competitive athletics.

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 11:30 PMPurdue takes viewers to Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis, where patients diagnosed with Parkinson?s disease are using this unlikely method to fight the debilitating disease.  The show also focuses on a Purdue initiative that helps military veterans re-acclimate to civilian work life, going behind the scenes of the nine-day Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.

Monday, Jan. 20, 9:00 PMOhio State celebrates a campus-wide initiative that focuses on recycling and composting, with the most noticeable impact coming on game day Saturdays at the Horseshoe.  Also, there is a medical technique being done by doctors at Ohio State called deep-brain stimulation, a technology that is essentially a pacemaker for the brain, and helps patients with neurological disorders lead more normal lives.

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 11:30 PMNorthwestern showcases a partnership between engineering and design students and Chicago?s Shedd Aquarium, and the real impact they are having on a group of sea otters.  Also, a team of Medill journalism students are making a difference in the lives of Chicago high school students by mentoring them and exposing them to the world of news gathering and reporting.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 11:30 PMMinnesota features a unique program that combines science and engineering with apparel design, giving viewers a sneak peek into the future of fashion - Smart Clothes. Viewers then head to the farmlands of Minnesota, where University researchers are on a mission to save farmers in the Gopher State millions of dollars by using wind turbines to create their own fertilizer.

Saturday, Jan. 25, 4 PMIowa explores the Operators Performance Lab where a research team uses flight simulators both on the ground and in the air with the goal of improving the safety of commercial and fighter pilots. Also, a program called UI REACH is advancing education for students with cognitive learning disabilities, giving them a true college experience in the dorms, in class and on campus.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 11:30 PMWisconsin highlights the work at the Currie Lab where a team is investigating the hive of Honeybees in an effort to combat the devastating Colony Collapse Disorder.  Also, a Badger professor created a program that brings health services, supplies and information to unreachable, underdeveloped communities across the globe.

Thursday, Jan. 30, 10:45 PMIndiana features the Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center, the first-of-its-kind facility in the Midwest, which offers a highly precise method of treating tumors in both children and adults. The show also tells the story of a truly remarkable Hoosier, Tom Morris, whose story of triumph serves as an inspiration to the entire Indiana community.

Friday, Jan. 31, 12 AMMichigan State showcases a one-of-a-kind program that highlights Spartans who are making a difference all over the globe - from Detroit to Africa. The show explores Spartans Will 360, an eight-week journey that sent a team of Spartans to four continents to capture and share the stories of their fellow Michigan State alumni who are having a global impact.

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 11:30 PM Nebraska takes viewers into the heart of Memorial Stadium where the state-of-the-art Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory and the Center for Brain Biology and Behavior sit.  Here, researchers are working together on new developments in concussion detection.  Also featured in this episode, is The Global Eyewitness Project, where photojournalism students at Nebraska travel the world, using their craft to bring attention to the social issues that impact third-world countries.

Friday, Feb. 14, 12 AMMichigan takes viewers into an engineering class that is designing software to help improve communication for a young girl with cerebral palsy.  Across campus at the School of Kinesiology, Dan Ferris and his team are developing powered prosthesis, which enable a paralyzed person to move his prosthetic limb by simply thinking of the desired action.

About BTN: A joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Networks, BTN is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premier collegiate conferences in the country. With more than 800 events, all in HD, the 24/7 network is the ultimate destination for Big Ten fans and alumni across the country, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. BTN2Go is the 24/7 simulcast of BTN that delivers live and on-demand programming via the internet, smartphones and tablets to customers of participating video providers. Events include football, men?s and women?s basketball games; dozens of Big Ten Olympic sports and championship events; studio shows; and classic games. The network televises and streams more Olympic sporting events and women?s sports than has ever been aired on any other network. Original programming highlights activities and accomplishments of some of the nation?s finest universities. The groundbreaking Student U initiative provides real-world experience for students interested in careers in sports television. The network is in more than 52 million homes across the United States and Canada, including carriage by all the major video distributors, such as DIRECTV, DISH, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, Charter Communications, Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Rogers Cable, Shaw and Shaw Direct (Canada) and approximately 300 additional video providers across North America. For additional information, go to