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VOL. 41 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 8, 2017

U.S. Diplomacy Lab picks UT professors

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Three University of Tennessee professors have been accepted to the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab.

The professors are Stuart Brotman, Devendra Dilip Potnis and Sam Swan. They will participate in spring 2018.

UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy partners with the Diplomacy Lab.

Brotman is the inaugural Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Communication and Information.

He will lead a team of students that will focus on how select countries around the world are limiting global internet freedom in a project called Identifying and Assisting “Tipping Point Countries” for Internet Freedom Globally.

“Having taught two other Diplomacy Lab seminars since joining the UT faculty in 2016, I know firsthand what an extraordinary learning experience it is for students to develop real-world research, analysis, and recommendations for the US Department of State,” says Brotman. “I welcome both undergraduates with junior standing and graduate students – from a range of majors – for this truly unique course.”

Potnis is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences.

His project, Digital Literacy and Good Governance, works with the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, to develop a “citizen-centric digital literacy index” for understanding, explaining, and predicting the willingness and capability of citizens to detect and alleviate corruption.

His students will seek answers to specific research topics by drawing from interdisciplinary literature on public administration and policy, information science, communication, education and psychology.

Swan, professor of journalism and electronic media and director of internationalization and outreach for the College of Communication and Information, will lead a group of students in a project titled Social Media Wars: The Battle for Influence in Bulgaria.

Students will monitor social media posts from the embassies of the US, Russia, and China, in Bulgaria and compare information being disseminated about the US and world affairs.

“I am excited about working with the US Embassy and leading media companies in Bulgaria to explore the use of social media,” says Swan, who has worked for 17 years training journalists in Bulgaria.

Brewer to open law office in Knoxville


Patent attorney Peter L. Brewer has joined the law firm of Thrive IP and will be opening a new office in Knoxville.

Thrive IP is a U.S. intellectual property law firm now serving Charleston, South Carolina, Greenville South Carolina and Knoxville.

Brewer holds an engineering degree from Texas A&M University, and a law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston.

After law school, he served as a briefing attorney to the Texas Supreme Court.

His practice focuses on the protection of intellectual property including the preparation and filing of patent applications and trademark applications. He also prepares contracts such as non-disclosure agreements, license agreements, and assignments.

Brewer represents clients in various technical areas, including sporting goods, pet products, upstream oil and gas, seismic and geotechnical products, and medical devices. Peter also has prepared dozens of patent non-infringement and validity opinions.

He is a registered patent attorney and is admitted to practice law in Tennessee and Texas.

Knoxville advertisers select award winners

The American Advertising Federation-Knoxville has handed out its annual award winners for individuals and businesses.

These are the individual winners and categories:

  • Best Educator: Courtney Childers, University of Tennessee
  • Best Exhibitor Representative: John Foster, Printedge
  • Best Digital Representative: Candice McNamara, VIEO Design
  • Best Newspaper Representative: Marti Townsend, Knoxville News Sentinel
  • Best Outdoor Representative: Autumn Smith, Lamar Outdoor
  • Best Printer Representative: John Foster, Printedge
  • Best Radio Representative: Lori Stooksbury, E.W. Scripps
  • Best Television Representative: Kristin Reed, WVLT
  • Best Media Buyer: Jessica Johnson, Designsensory
  • Best Digital Media Buyer: Doug Coffin, Citizen Agency
  • Best Blogger: Alan Sims, Inside of Knoxville
  • Best Digital Strategist/Analyst: Valerie Daugherty, WVLT
  • Best Project Manager: Taylor Knight, Designsensory
  • Best SEM/ SEO Specialist: Valerie Daughterty, WVLT
  • Best PR Manager: Laura Mansfield, Mansfield Communications
  • Best Social Media Specialist: Mara Robinette – Smarter Searches
  • Best Web Programmer: Ryan Ridings – VIEO Design
  • Best Photographer: Bryan Allen – Pop Fizz
  • Best Intern: Elizabeth Steen – Loch & Key Productions
  • Best Support/Administrator: Roger McDowell, WVLT
  • Most Likely to be My Boss in 10 Years: Candice McNamara, VIEO Design

Oak Ridge researchers earn AAAS fellowships


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Five researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. The association honors fellows in recognition of “their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

The new fellows will be formally recognized in February at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

The ORNL fellows are:

Budhendra Bhaduri, leader of the Geographic Information Science and Technology group in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division, was elected by the AAAS section on geology and geography for “distinguished contributions to geographic information science, especially for developing novel geocomputational approaches to create high resolution geographic data sets to improve human security.”

Sheng Dai, leader of the Nanomaterials Chemistry group in the Chemical Sciences Division, was elected by the AAAS section on chemistry for “significant and sustained contribution in pioneering and developing soft template synthesis and ionothermal synthesis approaches to functional nanoporous materials for energy-related applications.”

Mitchel Doktycz, leader of the Biological and Nanoscale Systems Group in the Biosciences Division, was elected by the AAAS section on biological sciences for “distinguished contributions to the field of biological sciences, particularly advancing the use of nanotechnologies for characterizing and interfacing to biological systems.”

Bobby G. Sumpter, deputy director of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, was elected by the AAAS section on physics for “distinguished contributions to the field of computational and theoretical chemical physics, particularly for developing a multifaceted approach having direct connections to experimental research in nanoscience and soft matter.”

Robert Wagner, director of the National Transportation Research Center in the Energy and Transportation Science Division, was elected by the AAAS section on engineering for “distinguished contributions to the fields of combustion and fuel science, particularly for seminal research on combustion instabilities and abnormal combustion phenomena.”

ORNL hires Womble for AI program

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has hired David Womble to direct its artificial intelligence efforts.

Womble, a high-performance computing leader, will guide ORNL’s AI and machine learning strategy for high-performance computing; ensuring broad scientific impacts to the Department of Energy Office of Science mission; and long-range program planning and project leadership.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning represent the next generation in data analytics and have tremendous potential in science and engineering and commercial applications,” Womble says. “I am excited to be part of ORNL’s world-class research team and look forward to spearheading the development and application of the laboratory’s new AI capabilities.”

In more than three decades in computing Womble has won two R&D100 awards and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell Prize, awarded each year “to recognize outstanding achievement in high-performance computing.”

Previously, Womble spent 30 years at Sandia National Laboratories, where he served as a senior manager and program deputy for advanced simulation and computing.

During his tenure at Sandia, Womble made numerous contributions across the computing spectrum including in HPC, numerical mathematics, linear solvers, scalable algorithms, and I/O.

UT law alums named to 40 under 40 list

Four University of Tennessee College of Law alumnae have been named to the annual list of 40 under 40, selected by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.

Honorees will be presented at a ceremony Jan. 18.

Honored UT law school alumnae are:

Leslie Beale, founder and success coach with Profusion Strategies

Crista Cuccaro, assistant city attorney with the City of Knoxville

Valeria Gomez, an equal justice works Americorps fellow and staff attorney for the Volunteer Immigrant Defense Advocates

Rachel Lokitz, associate general counsel and corporate secretary for Oak Ridge Associated Universities