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VOL. 46 | NO. 25 | Friday, June 24, 2022

UT Ag’s Rihn named to 40 Under 40 list

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Alicia Rihn, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, has received the Forty Under 40 Award by Greenhouse Product News for 2022, an award that recognizes young talent in the horticulture industry.

This year’s class marks the 11th year of the program, which recognizes horticultural professionals who will lead the future of the industry.

Rihn joined the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 2020. Her research focuses on specialty crops, consumer behavior and valuation studies, value-added and niche attributes, as well as producer barriers and willingness to adopt new practices and products.

She is also co-leading a new eye-tracking laboratory – launching later this summer – that will enhance research opportunities and collaborations, as well as provide experiential learning for students.

Rihn earned her doctorate and master’s in applied plant sciences from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s in horticulture science from the University of Wisconsin.

Former Tickle College dean Parker named AAAI Fellow

Tickle College of Engineering alum and former interim dean Lynne Parker has added another accolade to her resume, as she was named an Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Fellow for 2022.

“Artificial intelligence is already playing a role across many areas of society, and will only continue to grow in use and importance,” says Parker, who held the inaugural meeting of the National AI Advisory Committee in May. “It is a deep honor to be selected to join the ranks of luminaries from around the world who have founded and made significant contributions to the field of AI.”

Parker is the first person from the University of Tennessee so honored, and was chosen for “pioneering research in distributed robotics and exceptional leadership in AI policy.”

She currently serves as the director of the National AI Initiative Office for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, having previously served as National Science Foundation Division Director of Information and Intelligent Systems.

AAAI started the fellows program in 1990 as a way to acknowledge those who have made a sustained, notable impact to artificial intelligence. This year’s class consisted of 10 inductees representing six countries, including four from US universities.

Christman Co. adds senior superintendent

Paul Leaf has joined The Christman Company as a senior superintendent at the construction management and real estate development firm’s office in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“With three decades of experience in ever-expanding superintendent roles, Paul will benefit our company and clients by utilizing his extensive construction leadership expertise to deliver projects within expectations,” says Marty Gibbs, senior vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s operations in Knoxville.

“He is well equipped to plan and execute our most complex projects, coordinate our crews and trade contractor partners, and maintain safety as a top priority on our work sites, all while providing outstanding service to our clients.”

Leaf currently is focused on the new corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations for Smith & Wesson in Maryville, Tennessee.

He is a certified firefighter and holds numerous construction technical certifications. His experience includes managing contractors, emergency management, project estimation and inspection.

Leaf previously served as senior superintendent for Coastal Construction Group, overseeing multi-family high-rise projects in Tampa and Miami, Florida.

The Trust Company hires Humphrey as trust officer

The Trust Company of Tennessee has hired Mike Humphrey as a trust officer, based in the firm’s Knoxville office.

Founded in 1987 and with offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities, The Trust Company of Tennessee currently has more than $4.5 billion under management.

Humphrey earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from University of Tennessee and a doctorate in jurisprudence from Vermont Law School. He has 20 years of experience in trust and estate administration and most recently served as senior counsel for Vishnick McGovern Milizio, LLP, in Lake Success, New York.

Humphrey recently relocated back to Knoxville with his fiancé, Lia, their family and dog, Cersei. He enjoys traveling with their four children, boating, gardening and home renovations. He’s a fan of the English Premier League’s West Ham United Football Club.

Moxley Carmichael promotes Clouse

Moxley Carmichael has promoted Allie Clouse to account associate to assist the firm’s account executives in client support, public relations and marketing strategies.

“Since joining our team in July 2021, Allie has added value to a variety of client support initiatives and continuously expanded her role to serve the firm and our clients,” says Cynthia Moxley, founder and CEO of Moxley Carmichael. “Allie’s competency and positive approach pair with her adaptability, creativity and social media skills to help elevate client profiles. We congratulate her on this promotion.”

Clouse graduated with honors in spring 2020 from The University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She previously worked as a reporter at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

While attending UT, she led contributors at “The Daily Beacon,” traveled abroad to Sydney, Australia, and founded the college’s first women’s magazine. Her community service includes the Knoxville Leadership Foundation, Hope Central and other nonprofits in the greater Knoxville area. Clouse is an Alpha Kappa Psi Zeta Lambda and Leadership Knoxville Scholars alumna.

Clouse is a member of the PRSA Volunteer Chapter and Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK).

Student founders capture Boyd Challenge prizes

Alexander Weber of D3D and Clay Franklin of Arid Delivery Products are the winners of the 20th annual Boyd Venture Challenge, hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI).

“For these students, this is the beginning of a very exciting journey ahead, and the ACEI is proud to support, invest and light the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” says Lynn Youngs, executive director of the ACEI.

D3D, an IT consulting and software development service that specializes in extended reality (XR) solutions, was awarded $20,000. The company found a need for this technology in key business areas such as training, safety, design, quality, maintenance, inspection and workflow management.

Weber, an MBA candidate from Knoxville, has a strong desire for bringing people and businesses into the digital age.

“As an engineer, I have always had a passion for technology, but I became enthralled with extended reality the moment I tried on my first VR headset,” he says.

Arid Delivery Products received $7,500. The B2B firm enhances on-demand food delivery for companies, drivers and consumers by ensuring meals are hot and delicious. The company was founded by Franklin native Clay Franklin, a senior finance major at UT.

“Capital awarded in the Boyd Venture Challenge directly supports go-to-market operations, accelerating us to first revenue by bolstering production and marketing efforts,” Franklin says.

The company created six different prototypes from more than 400 in-field tests to come up with a delivery bag that effectively keeps meals hot without adding extra moisture, and it is now patent pending.

UT’s Darby wins L.R. Hesler Award

Erin Darby, associate professor of early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies and the faculty director of undergraduate research and fellowships for the Division of Student Success, has won the L.R. Hesler Award recognizing excellence in teaching and service.

An expert in the archaeology of religion and Hebrew literature, Darby is a committed teacher and undergraduate research mentor. She has spearheaded a number of campus, community and international initiatives including programs on cultural competency, archaeology, and religious diversity.

“UT is home to an amazing array of people who care deeply about the experiences of our students and take seriously our mandate as a land-grant institution,” Darby says. “As a result, the institution values high-impact teaching and engagement and provides resources and infrastructure to support faculty as they seek to serve our communities on campus, in Tennessee and across the globe. None of my work would have been possible without staff, faculty, and student partners from all corners of the campus.”

The L.R. Hesler Award is named for a longtime head of the botany department who also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Boggess wins award from disability commission

Sarah Boggess, a research coordinator in the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department, has been named the winner of UT’s Commission for Disability Advocate Award.

Boggess also serves on the campus’ diversity and inclusion committee. Through these avenues she has been able to advocate for disability rights and awareness, one of her true passions.

“Being a Vol means being able to enact change in a broader community. Being a Vol empowers you to be able to make changes that can affect generations in the future,” Boggess says. “I hope to continue with disability advocacy to make our university and world more universally accessible.”

The Commission for Disability Advocate Award honors a faculty or staff member who is a champion for support and recognition of people with disabilities.

Gonzalez earns UT’s LGBTQ Advocate Award

Kirsten A. Gonzalez, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, has been presented with UT’s 2022 LGBTQ Advocate Award at the university’s recent Honors Banquet.

The LGBTQ Advocate Award recognizes a faculty member, staff member, or student who demonstrates a commitment to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on campus

Gonzalez’s research interests include the psychological well-being of LGBTQ+ People of Color, ally development, social justice advocacy and interventions, and sociopolitical experiences of marginalization across race/ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

“I am honored to receive the Chancellor’s Honors LGBTQ Advocate Award and to be acknowledged for my commitment to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues on UT’s campus,” Gonzalez says. “I look forward to continuing this work and encourage all Volunteers to join me in finding ways to get involved in social justice initiatives, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community, at UT.”

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