ORNL welcomes first Liane Russell fellows

Liane Russell Reception at ORNL

Lab Director Thom Mason and award-winning scientist Liane Russell welcomed Celia Shiau, Huiyuan Zhu, and Huina Mao at a Thursday reception. Shiau, Mao, and Zhu are the first early-career researchers coming to Oak Ridge National Laboratory under a fellowship named for Russell. (Photo courtesy ORNL)


Renowned mammalian geneticist Liane Russell returned Thursday to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to congratulate the first recipients of a new fellowship named in her honor.

ORNL created the Liane Russell Distinguished Early Career Fellowship to attract a diverse and promising work force of early career scientists and engineers whose interests align with DOE missions.

“It is gratifying to see these opportunities being made available to a diverse group of talented young people because, sadly, in the scientific fields this has not always been the case,” Russell said. “For this reason I am particularly honored to have my name attached to the fellowships.”

The competitive, three-year fellowship is aimed toward establishing long-term research careers at ORNL. It is available to outstanding scientists and engineers who have received their doctorate degrees within the past seven years, with emphasis given to attracting women and minority candidates.

The first three Russell fellows, recognized at Thursday’s reception, are: [Read more...]

Tech 2020 president resigns

John Morris

John Morris

Technology 2020 President and Chief Executive Officer John Morris has announced his resignation effective September 30. He has worked at Tech 2020 since December 2008, and has served as president since 2011.

“I value the time I have spent around Tech 2020, first as an entrepreneurial client company, then as the director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth director and later as CEO,” Morris said in a press release Thursday. “This was not an easy decision, but I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I want to return to direct involvement with startups.”

Tech 2020 is the region’s venture development organization, working to help new technology-based companies start up and flourish. The organization supports the technology commercialization efforts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, and is currently working with more than 30 client businesses at various stages of growth. Tech 2020 also manages a large federally-funded advanced manufacturing project, serves as the headquarters for Meritus Ventures and the newly established Lighthouse Angel Fund, and leads the state’s FIRST Robotics Program and the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. [Read more...]

Musician, software engineer running for school board

Andy Howe

Andy Howe

Andrew Howe, a musician and software engineer, is running for Oak Ridge Board of Education in the November 4 election.

Howe said some people might recognize him from his performances singing and playing with bands around town, including at community festivals, or on the Oak Ridge Playhouse stage.

“That’s just one side of me though,” Howe said. “By day, I’m normally a software engineer, degree from MIT, but presently I’m taking a hiatus from that career while I pursue other options. I’m married to my best friend, Kat, and our son Maguire is a junior in the high school.”

In a press release, Howe said the family has taken a fairly run-down looking old “A” house on the end of a vine infested cul-de-sac and turned it into their own little country paradise, The 100 Acre Woods. He called it a small performance and gathering space in the woods that has always been open for anyone to make use of.

Howe said he and Kat started a nonprofit this year, Project Sunflower, to get some gardens in Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

Video: Mayor, school officials accept ice bucket challenge

Jefferson Middle School

Jefferson Middle School

Oak Ridge municipal and school officials accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge after cross country practice at Jefferson Middle School on Friday.

Those who accepted the challenge included Cross Country Coach Steve Reddick, Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers, Assistant Superintendent Chris Marczak, JMS Principal Phil Cox, Vice Principal Mike Haygood, and Oak Ridge Schools teachers John Smith, Jacqueline Whitaker, Chris Layton, and Scott Linn.

The ice buckets were administered by “several lucky team members” of the cross country squad, the JMS PTO said.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. For more information, please see the ALS Association website.

Here is a video by Heather Hartman, JMS PTO president: [Read more...]

Oak Ridge High School has open house on Thursday

Oak Ridge High School

Oak Ridge High School is pictured above.

Oak Ridge High School will have an open house on Thursday, August 28, beginning at 5:15 p.m. in the Food Court. Parents are asked to print their student’s schedule prior to the event from Skyward Family Access.

From 5:15 to 6 p.m., school guidance counselors will have PSAT sign up, freshman TCAP results, and senior information tables. School clubs and community organizations will have information tables set up during this time. Pizza will be available for $2 and drinks for $1. PTSO will be accepting donations of Kleenex and hand sanitizer for teacher use.

Beginning at 6 p.m., parents will meet in the Auditorium for a short welcome from Principal David Bryant and the PTSO officers. Then, parents will follow their children’s schedule, period by period, spending about 10 minutes with each teacher. Hall guides will be provided to direct parents.

Parents are encouraged to take this opportunity to join the Parent Teacher Student Organization at the PTSO membership table. The majority of PTSO funding comes from membership dues and donations. All donations are tax-deductible. All money raised remains in the school and is used to communicate important information and dates via newsletters, express appreciation to teachers, fund teacher grants, and make contributions to various academic departments and activities.

Oak Ridge educator to receive national recognition

Mike Carvella

Mike Carvella


Michael Carvella, a second-grade teacher at Woodland Elementary School, will receive the 2015 California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, one of public education’s most prestigious awards, a press release said.

Carvella is among 39 public educators who will be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala to be held in Washington, D.C., on February 13, 2015. One of public education’s most anticipated events, the gala attracts more than 850 of the nation’s leaders from public education, philanthropy, and the private sector.

“We give these awards annually to honor and promote excellence in education and to elevate the profession,” said Harriet Sanford, president and chief executive officer of the NEA Foundation. “Educators like these are critical to their students’ academic success, and they deserve national recognition. We are thrilled that California Casualty has joined us again this year to pay tribute to educators who are making such a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across the country.” [Read more...]

ORHS grad, brand manager running for school board

Paige Marshall

Paige Marshall

Paige (White) Marshall, a 1988 graduate of Oak Ridge High School and current Oak Ridge resident, is running for Oak Ridge Board of Education in the November 4 election.

Marshall said her father spent most of his teaching career teaching in Oak Ridge.

“I quite literally grew up in these schools, among public educators,” Marshall said in a press release. “I am convinced that there is incredible power in public education to give students a chance to improve personally so that they can contribute responsibly as adults.”

Marshall attended Middle Tennessee State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1991, and she went on to seminary at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, where she received her M.Div. in 1997.

After serving as a member of the clergy for almost 15 years, she went back to school and completed a master’s of business administration in marketing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2008. Since then, she has worked in the business world for Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, and for Bush Brothers and Company in Knoxville, where she is currently a brand manager. [Read more...]

Mayor, superintendent, others participating in JMS ice bucket challenge

Thom Mason Ice Bucket Challenge

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Wednesday afternoon. He then challenged Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director Paul Alivisatos, and Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan to do the same. Afterward, Mason said the experience was “bracing.” (Photos by Carlos Jones)


ORNL Director Mason took the challenge Wednesday

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan and Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers are participating in an ice bucket challenge at Jefferson Middle School on Friday.

Members of the JMS cross country team will administer the ice buckets.

“You are no doubt aware of the social media-fed phenomenon sweeping the nation in the past couple of weeks: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” coach and JMS teacher Steve Reddick said. “As of today, the challenge has raised $41 million. Many of us have received challenges from friends and foes alike, and we’ve decided to stage a Mega-Ice Bucket Challenge at 4:15 p.m. after cross country practice tomorrow (Friday).” [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Schools announces ACT results for 2013-2014 graduates


The ACT college entrance examination “assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.” Students are tested in English, mathematics, reading, and science. They receive a score between one and 36 for each test and also a composite score, which averages the performance on all four subject tests.

The ACT is widely accepted as the premier college entrance examination.

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers said: “In the Oak Ridge Schools, we believe it is crucial for our students to perform well on the ACT examination. It is one of our Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness, and we are proud of how students perform on the ACT and of our teachers who prepare them. This year is no exception.”

The 2014 Oak Ridge High Schools graduating class significantly outperformed the state and national averages on each of the subject components of the ACT examination as well as the overall composite. In fact, Oak Ridge’s 2014 graduating class achieved higher in English, mathematics, reading, and composite than any other ORHS graduating class in the past five years. In addition, the percent of ORHS’s 2014 graduates that met or exceeded all four of the ACT College Readiness Benchmark Scores was far higher than the state and nation. [Read more...]

Roane State professor hopes to inspire girls through undersea classroom

Jessica Fain Diving

Jessica Fain emerges in the moon pool inside Jules’ Undersea Lodge, the location for Classroom Under the Sea. (Photo courtesy Roane State Community College)


The National Science Board’s 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators report contains an all-too-familiar statistic.

Women account for only 28 percent of the workforce in science and engineering jobs. Elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities around the country have designed initiatives to boost that number.

Roane State adjunct professor Jessica Fain wants to do her part, and she’s willing to live underwater for 72 days to show that science is cool, for boys and for girls.

“I definitely see those social barriers for girls interested in science,” Fain said. “They don’t want to be labeled as the nerd. We still have this stigma of wanting to be the popular girl and not wanting to be the science geek. I want them to see that it is OK to be the smart, nerdy girl.”

Fain, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology and teaches biology labs for Roane State, will participate in Classroom Under the Sea, a joint project between Roane State and the Marine Resources Development Foundation in Key Largo, Florida. Along with Roane State biology professor Bruce Cantrell, Fain will live and work in an underwater habitat for 72 days this fall (October 4-December 15). [Read more...]

Register for ORICL courses and trips by Aug. 27; semester starts Sept. 22


Decorative Barn ORICL

ORICL members visit this barn on the Appalachian Quilt Trail. (Submitted photos)


How would you like to see 10 award-winning films from 10 countries? Find information on your ancestors on the Internet? Learn about female Pharaohs in ancient Egypt?

Better understand tax law changes, Medicare, long-term care services, and investment fundamentals? Get a new perspective on Jesus, the Trinity, and the Quakers? Learn to analyze dreams and play better bridge?

You can take courses on any of these and other topics by registering for the fall semester of the Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning, or ORICL.

The early registration deadline is Aug. 27 for the fall semester, which starts Sept. 22 and ends Dec. 12. Members should register by Aug. 27 to have the best chance of getting preferred classes and trips. [Read more...]

Second annual Wildcat Day to feature pep rally, pizza, fireworks

Wildcat Day 2014

The second annual Wildcat Day on Saturday, August 23, will feature a pep rally, free pizza and hot dogs, and fireworks, a press release said.

The 2014 Oak Ridge High School football squad will also be introduced.

Wildcat Day starts at 7 p.m. August 23 at Ben Martin Track at Oak Ridge High School. It’s been organized by members of the Oak Ridge Quarterback Club.

“Although the planning window is short, the organizers hope to recreate the success of last year’s community pep rally that drew over 3,000 Wildcat fans,” said Len Hart, president of the Quarterback Club. “The Quarterback Club has been busy this summer with fundraising efforts, including the recent success with the Temptations concert. We just wrote a check to complete the grading and reseeding of the bank at Blankenship’s north end zone. Before we knew it, Wildcat Day was upon us—something Coach Gaddis assured us he wanted to do the week before the first football game.” [Read more...]