UT professors earn $3.7M education grant

Friday, January 21, 2022, Vol. 46, No. 3

University of Tennessee professors Tara Moore, Zoi Traga-Philippakos and Kristen Secora will receive a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to provide doctoral-level training for future researchers and preparers of special education personnel.

Moore is an associate professor of special education in the Department of Theory & Practice in Teacher Education in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Traga-Philippakos is an associate professor of literacy education in TPTE.

Secora is an assistant professor of deaf education and special education in TPTE and a speech pathologist.

The project, Researching Interventions in Special Education (RISE) Scholars Network, is a collaboration between UT, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Texas A&M University.

The RISE project will provide support to 12 Ph.D. candidates across the three universities. While the universities involved might seem random, they are actually the result of an intentional, coordinated effort by the partnering institutions.

During the RISE program, doctoral candidates will develop social and professional networks with students and faculty from the partnering institutions; learn from leaders in the field; and work collaboratively to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions designed to improve outcomes for students with disabilities and learning and behavioral difficulties. Perhaps what’s unique about this project is that scholars and faculty will have opportunities to travel to the three partnering universities to foster cross-university collaboration and networking.

“When we were writing the proposal, my colleagues and I kept saying, ‘We want to be students in this program!’” Moore says. “We are all very excited!”

ETSU geoscientists recognized for work

Students and professors in the Department of Geosciences at East Tennessee State University have recently been honored for their work.

Dr. Ingrid Luffman, an associate professor in the department, won the Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring Award from the South Eastern Division of the American Association of Geography.

Graduate student Rachel Whiteman won several categories at the Tennessee Geographic Information Council Fall Forum.

Melissa Magno, a recent graduate from the Honors-in-Discipline program, published two peer-reviewed research papers from her thesis on toxic metal mobility in abandoned mine sites. Magno is currently a staff geologist in a private-sector industry.

Johnson Architecture names Staats partner

Joseph Staats has been named a partner at Johnson Architecture, a firm that provides architecture, planning and interior design services for facilities of all types.

“Our firm is better positioned to provide outstanding service with Joey among our leadership,” says Daryl Johnson, founder and president of the Knoxville-based firm. “He embraces the complexity of each project, has an advanced skill set that makes him an asset across many types of projects and has strong project management abilities, as well.”

Staats joined Johnson Architecture in 2015, bringing nine years of experience working on commercial office, religious, medical and senior living projects. Since joining the firm, he has contributed to multiple designs and projects, including Kern’s Bakery, an adaptive reuse project for a food hall, residential, hotel, retail and office space in South Knoxville.

Other notable projects include Lakeway Christian Academy, a state-of-the-art middle and high school campus completed in 2020 in White Pine, Tennessee, and the affiliated Tri-Cities Christian Academy in Jonesborough, an ongoing project that also will serve middle and high school students.

Staats also provided his expertise for Zoo Knoxville’s Tiger Forest and renovation and expansion of the Anderson Training Center for Tennessee Athletics, which is part of the University of Tennessee Haslam Field expansion project.

Staats earned a bachelor of architecture from The University of Tennessee in 2009 and studied architecture abroad. He is a registered architect and certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

Christman elevates Craig to senior project manager

Quentin Craig has been promoted to senior project manager at The Christman Company at the contracting firm’s office in Knoxville.

“Quentin has an extensive background in industrial development and the ability as a project manager to engage everyone involved, from co-workers and clients to architects and skilled labor crews,” says Marty Gibbs, vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s operations in Knoxville. “He is an exceptional problem-solver and focuses on meeting and exceeding the client’s expectation while building long-term relationships.”

Craig, who joined Christman in 2015, has nearly 20 years of experience in design and construction, including project management. Craig currently oversees multiple projects for 3M Company in East Tennessee.

He earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Tennessee.

KKB taps Chov as executive director

Keep Knoxville Beautiful has hired Khann Chov as its executive director.

Khann Chov is an East Tennessee native with roots in Chattanooga. She moved to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee in 1999.

She has been a part of Knoxville’s environmental community through work with the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, AmeriCorps, CAC Beardsley Community Farm and the University of Tennessee.

Chov is an AmeriCorps alumnus, serving with Knox County Schools between 2004 and 2006 with recycling, composting, school gardens and water quality initiatives.

She is known for her accomplishments at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, where she served as farm manager and eventually their Director of Urban Agriculture.

Chov, who holds a master’s degree in environmental education from Lesley University, led the University of Tennessee’s recycling and zero waste operations.

Trust Company adds Foster as senior trust officer

The Trust Company of Tennessee has hired Marc Foster as a senior 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 billion under management.

“Marc’s decades of experience and passion for people complement our team well,” says Daniel Carter, president of The Trust Company of Tennessee.

Foster earned a degree in economics from Radford University. He has more than 20 years of experience administering various types of trusts, including special needs, structured settlement and charitable trusts.

Lawson named MC’s track and field coach

Maryville College Director of Athletics Sara Quatrocky has announced the hiring of Kunle Lawson as director of the men’s and women’s track and field.

The program makes its return to campus in spring 2023 as the College’s 15th and 16th varsity sports.

Lawson comes to the college after six and a half years as head coach of track and field and cross-country at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Other stops include four years as head coach at Capital and earlier assistant coaching positions at Lynchburg, Ohio University and Richmond.

“We look forward to Coach Lawson leading our track and field programs and bringing his Division III expertise to our athletic program,” Quatrocky says. “His passion for the student-athlete experience and emphasis on wellness in the training of student-athletes fits the model of excellence at Maryville College.

Lawson over his 10 years in the profession has coached an outdoor track and field conference title team – Mary Washington in 2019 – six cross-country national qualifiers, 11 track and field national qualifiers and a two-time All-America honoree. Four athletes from Mary Washington advanced to the 2018 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships.

“I am honored and thrilled about the opportunity to bring track and field back home to Maryville College.” Lawson says.

Oak Ridge’s Hope elected to ECA board

City of Oak Ridge Councilman Chuck Hope has been unanimously elected to the Energy Communities Alliance executive board of directors.

The board met in conjunction with the National Cleanup Workshop held in December.

The Energy Communities Alliance is the only nonprofit, membership organization of local governments that host or are adjacent to U.S. Department of Energy sites.

The organization brings together local government officials to share information, establish policy positions, and promote community interests to address an increasingly complex set of environmental, regulatory, and economic development issues at DOE sites across the nation.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the ECA Executive Board with colleagues from other DOE communities,” Hope says. “Given the breadth and depth of DOE’s Environmental Management Program, it’s crucial for local elected officials to engage with the agency on matters of vital importance to our communities.”

Roane County Executive and outgoing ECA Board Chairman Ron Wood says: “Chuck’s knowledge of the DOE programs in Oak Ridge and demonstrated leadership make him the perfect choice to serve on the Executive Board. It’s important to have representation from Oak Ridge in this national forum.”

Councilman Hope has served on City Council since July 2011 and has been active with the ECA for more than nine years.