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VOL. 42 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 28, 2018

Two UT professors honored by NSF

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Sharani Roy and Sarah Lebeis, faculty members with the University of Tennessee’s College of Arts and Sciences, have both received a National Science Foundation CAREER award.

These honors are given to in the early-stage of an academic career, indicating great promise in a burgeoning faculty member.

Recipients receive a five-year grant toward their particular research project.

Roy, an assistant professor of chemistry, focuses her research primarily on surface chemistry, a field that seeks to understand the chemical reactions that take place between gases and solid surfaces.


In addition to developing courses on computational chemistry, surface chemistry, and scientific computing, Roy has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to organize a symposium on surface chemistry.

Lebeis, an assistant professor of microbiology, is interested in the future of agriculture and food production. Her work seeks to deviate from the tradition of nonrenewable chemical fertilizers, focusing instead on harnessing the power of plant microbiomes to encourage growth.

Of the almost 800 applicants in her category, Roy was one of about 170 chosen for funding. In Lebeis’s category of approximately 400, fewer than 50 were selected.

Smoky Mountain Orthopedics adds surgeon


Daniel Cordas, M.D., has joined the surgical team at Smoky Mountain Orthopedics and LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville and the Covenant Health system.

He is an orthopedic surgeon with clinical interests in orthopedic surgery, arthroscopic surgery, fracture care and sports medicine.

Cordas attended medical school at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. His residency was in orthopaedic surgery at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

He did his fellowship in sports medicine at the Orthopedic Institute of South Florida.

Cross joins Pinnacle Neurology, Fort Sanders West


Neurologist Thea Cross, M.D., is now on staff at Pinnacle Neurology and Fort Sanders West.

Cross is board certified with more than 15 years of experience. Her new practice is part of Covenant Medical Group, a division of Covenant Health that employs and manages more than 80 practice locations throughout the region.

Her clinical interests include treating migraines, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

Cross attended medical school at the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University and did her residency at the Medical University of South Carolina.

First Tennessee promotes client relationship manager


Megan Howard-Seaton is the new Maryville-based private client relationship manager for First Tennessee.

She has five years of experience with First Tennessee in Knoxville and Maryville in a variety of roles, most recently as financial services representative in its main office in Maryville.

Howard-Seaton has received many honors including Diamond Circle and Million Dollar Club awards and has served on the company’s Quality Council and as a retail ambassador and change champion.

She is a graduate of Auburn University and life insurance and fixed annuity sales licenses.

The company also announced Melissa Davis as a Knoxville-based small business relationship manager, Heather Hoag as a Knoxville Financial Center manager for its Merchants Road location and Brittni Wright as Athens Financial Center manager.

State chamber honors Anderson’s Meredith


Rick Meredith, president of the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, has been named the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executive of the Year.

“This award truly demonstrates Rick’s success and achievement in managing a complex organization and engaging business leaders in Anderson County to ensure economic and community success,” says Bradley Jackson, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce president. “Chamber professionals like Rick are why Tennessee is consistently recognized as a great state for business and manufacturing.’’

On receiving the award, Meredith says, “It is an honor to win this prestigious award. I am very thankful for the support of the Chamber Board of Directors, our membership, the ambassadors, and all our committees. My staff and I look forward to continuing to keep up the momentum in Anderson County. We’ve accomplished a lot, but we still have a great deal of work to do.’’

KieranTimberlake partner takes on professorship


The University of Tennessee’s College of Architecture and Design has named Billie Faircloth as its 2018 BarberMcMurry professor.

Faircloth is a partner of KieranTimberlake where she leads a group of professionals in diverse fields, including environmental management, chemical physics, materials science and architecture.

Previously, Faircloth taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, University of Texas at Austin and Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

As the UT BarberMcMurry Professor, Faircloth is teaching an interdisciplinary design studio during the fall 2018 semester that is made up of students from all three schools in the college.

Facilitating the studio is Scottie McDaniel, adjunct assistant professor of landscape architecture at UT, and shaping the discourse is Stephanie Carlisle, environmental researcher at KieranTimberlake and lecturer in Urban Ecology at PennDesign.

The professorship is the result of a $1 million endowment given by Blanche Barber and architects in BarberMcMurry.

UT’s Noble to edit professional publication


Charles Noble has been named incoming co-editor in chief of the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

The peer-reviewed journal leads the field of academic research on innovation management, covering a broad and interdisciplinary spectrum of factors crucial for successful product and service development.

Noble, who currently serves as associate dean for faculty and research at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business and the Henry Professor of Business, will share the editorship with Jelena Spanjol of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany.

“JPIM publishes on a broad range of cutting-edge topics from experts all over the world and across several disciplines,” Noble says. “Its already large impact factor continues to grow, and we hope to enhance scholarly and managerial thinking in these important areas.”

Noble and Spanjol will introduce their formal plans and leadership goals for the journal at its annual conference in November.

Knoxvillian only student to pass statewide exam


Kendra Craig, who graduated from Carter High School in the spring, was the only student in Tennessee to achieve state certification in a pilot program focused on dietetics and nutrition that was launched last year.

There were 37 Tennessee students who sat for the certification exam, which is now in its second year as a pilot program, aims to ensure students are college- or career-ready, and also provides three hours of college credit at an accredited Tennessee university.

The certification encompasses three high school courses with a focus on cooking, diet and nutrition science, and is capped by a 100-question, multiple-choice test.

Now a student at Walters State University, in Morristown, Craig said that last spring she spent the better part of three days studying for the test.

“I don’t think I’ve ever studied for anything as hard as I did that one,” she says.

Her current goal is to become a kindergarten teacher.

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