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VOL. 45 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 23, 2021

Blackshear Gala honors UT law students

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The University of Tennessee College of Law honored several students at the annual Julian Blackshear, Jr. Scholarship Gala, a celebration of diversity.

The event is coordinated by the Marilyn Yarbrough Chapter of the Black Law Student Association and also honors Blackshear as one of the College of Law’s first African American graduates. The gala also raises funds to support African American law students.

Third-year student Johnelle Simpson received the Roy BJ Campbelle Leadership Award for his leadership, social consciousness, dedication and passion for the work of the Black Law Student Association.

Third-year student Miles McDowell received the Julian Blackshear Outstanding Student Award for being a student of distinction through his leadership and outstanding character.

Third-year student Ri’charda Baldwin was awarded the Frank Ennix Award for Excellence in honor of her exemplary character, strong work ethic, passion for the legal field and desire to help others.

Students Nicole Williams, Abena Tawiah, McDowell and Raven Morris were also recognized as recipients of the Julian Blackshear, Jr. Scholarship.

Alumna Cheri Beasley (’91), who became the first African American woman to serve as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, received the RBJ Campbelle Award for her extraordinary efforts in advancing the cause of equality and justice.

Hopkins named to magazine’s top 25

John Hopkins, the chief executive officer for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, has earned a spot on Smart Manufacturing magazine’s “25 Leaders Transforming Manufacturing” list.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers credited Hopkins and his fellow honorees with revolutionizing the pace and scope of technological adoption of smart manufacturing processes at the highest level. SME consulted manufacturing experts from across a range of industry segments and disciplines to identify the 25 individuals, whose employers include public-private partnerships, startups, large corporations and standards organizations.

Hopkins says the SME recognition is a “team honor” and it speaks to the collaborative ecosystem of innovation that IACMI – as a U.S. Department of Energy funded Manufacturing USA Institute – and its industry, academic and government partners, such as founding partners Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, have created to drive commercial outcomes for composites, specifically in key energy related markets that improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, lead to economic growth and support national security.

Under his leadership, IACMI has served more than 250 members across the U.S., catalyzing innovation with industry partners in more than 50 IACMI technical projects aimed at accelerating the development and adoption of new manufacturing technologies for low-cost, energy-efficient advanced composites. Since 2015, IACMI has sparked $130 million in new research and development value in the U.S., more than 15 new commercially available products, $400 million investment in eight states and 3,000 new jobs in the composites industry.

Hopkins joined IACMI in 2015 as senior technology manager and, two years later, was named the institute’s CEO. Before joining IACMI, he served as vice president for research and economic development and director of strategic operations at the University of Tennessee. He earned his MBA from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Brooks named planning executive director

Amy Brooks has been appointed as the new executive director of Knoxville-Knox County Planning.

The appointment was made by Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.

Brooks, who has been with the department for more than 14 years, has been serving as interim executive director since July 2020.

“Amy is an expert in her field and has led flawlessly throughout a tough year,” Kincannon says. “Land use and place-making is such an important part of what we do to improve the health, equity and resilience of our City. I am confident that Amy will help us make great strides toward smart, sustainable growth in Knoxville.”

Adds Jacobs: “It’s a tough job to direct an organization like this because you’re looking at two different sets of ordinances and zoning maps between the city and the county. Amy does a great job educating planning commissioners and finding a middle ground and has been creative with how she keeps constituents involved in the process during the pandemic.”

Brooks has been with the Planning Department since 2007 and most recently managed an interdisciplinary team responsible for development review, addressing, customer service, plat review, rezonings, long-range planning, design review and Planning Commission support.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role,” Brooks says. “I am passionate about the work we do every day and am eager to continue making a positive impact on our community.”

Brooks is a member of the American Institute for Certified Planners, a nationally certified public manager, a graduate of East Tennessee Regional Leadership and is currently serving as treasurer for the Tennessee chapter of the American Planning Association.

Brooks earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning with an emphasis on transportation and land use planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and political science from Maryville College.

WBHOF selects Smith as development director

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame has hired Michael Smith as director of development.

“The addition of Mike to our existing team at the Hall of Fame is a winning combination” says Dana Hart, President of the WBHOF.

A native of Eden, North Carolina, Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from North Carolina State University.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame family,” Smith says. “I count it a privilege to be a part this team and appreciate the genuine welcome. I can’t wait for the chance to meet our board members and inductees, and to connect with national corporations and with individuals that want to align their businesses and/or private donations to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Previously, Smith worked as major gift officer for The University of Southern Mississippi. He served in athletic development at Limestone University, Arkansas State University and Florida Atlantic University, along with athletic corporate sponsorship sales at The University of Mississippi, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Georgia Tech.

ORNL team wins Sustainability award

An analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and led by researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has received the 2021 Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America.

The Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of a scholarly work that make a substantial contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.

Lead author Ryan McManamay, an aquatic ecologist and faculty member at Baylor University, was with ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division at the time of publication.

Co-authors include ORNL’s Sujithkumar Surendrannair, Christopher DeRolph, the late April Morton, Robert Stewart, Matthew Troia and Budhendra Bhaduri; Northern Arizona University’s Benjamin Ruddell; and the University of Tennessee’s Liem Tran and Hyun Kim.

“This work exemplifies how ORNL’s interdisciplinary research in environmental and geospatial science helps equip decision makers with the tools needed to move our nation toward a more sustainable future,” says Stan Wullschleger, associate laboratory director for ORNL’s Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate.

“It was a privilege to work with this team that spanned across multiple disciplines and institutions,” says Bhaduri, an ORNL Corporate Research Fellow and director of ORNL’s Geospatial Science and Human Security Division. “Given the impacts of climate change, there has never been a more pressing opportunity to address environmental sustainability. It’s a tremendous honor to make this scientific contribution and to be recognized for it.”

Summit adds 3 health care providers

Rachel Wilson, DO, Kara Williams, PA-C, and Tonya Williams, FNP-C, have joined Summit Medical Group as health care providers for the primary care organization.

Wilson, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, treats patients at Halls Family Physicians.

Kara Williams is a certified physician assistant at Summit Express Clinics in Bearden, Farragut, Fountain City and Powell, and Tonya Williams is a certified family nurse practitioner at Summit Medical Group at Newport.

Wilson earned an undergraduate degree in biology from East Tennessee State University in 2006 and graduated from Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine with a DO in 2010. Wilson is a member of the American Medical Association and is certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Before joining Summit Medical Group, she spent eight years at Ballad Health Medical Associates in Bristol, Virginia.

Kara Williams earned an undergraduate degree in exercise science from Florida State University in 2007 and graduated from South College with a master of health science degree in physician assistant studies in 2010. Williams is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Before joining Summit Medical Group, she spent seven years as an emergency department physician assistant in Knoxville.

Tonya Williams earned her bachelor’s in nursing from East Tennessee State University in 2009 and graduated from Tusculum College with a master’s in nursing in 2020. Williams is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is a board-certified FNP. Previously, she spent two years at Newport Medical Center as a registered nurse and 10 years at Greeneville Community Hospital East as an ICU nurse.

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