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Recognitions, November 28

Students Get Silver Medal in International Synthetic Biology Competition

The UT iGEM team after returning home from the 2018 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Giant Jamboree.

A group of six UT students won a silver medal for their performance in the 2018 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Giant Jamboree, an international competition for students interested in synthetic biology.

The undergraduate students who represented UT are:

  • Scott Dixon, of Franklin, Tennessee, a senior in chemical and biomolecular engineering
  • Brandon D. Kristy, of Knoxville, a sophomore in entomology and plant pathology
  • Molly E. Landon, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a senior in chemical and biomolecular engineering
  • Ralph B. Laure, of Smyrna, Tennessee, a senior in chemical and biomolecular engineering
  • Karl D. Leitner, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a senior in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology
  • Morgan T. Street, of Johnson City, Tennessee, a sophomore in chemical and biomolecular engineering

The UT group competed against 342 other teams—roughly 6,000 participants—from 42 countries. They shared the silver medal with Yale University.

Five Architecture Students Chosen as Normandy Scholars for 2019

Normandy beaches sculpture

Five students have been chosen as Normandy Scholars Program participants for 2019.

Normandy Scholars are undergraduates from across the university. They will study World War II through the lens of memory studies, a field of study that examines how social, cultural, political and technological changes affect societies’ reactions and commemorations to past conflicts in their national histories.

In all, 16 UT students were chosen to participate, including five of our own students, all from the School of Architecture: Alexa Davidson and Logan Guidera, both in second year; Kari Essary, a fourth-year student; and Elizabeth Ott and Bryan Pickle, fifth-year students.

Tisha Benton Named UT Vice Chancellor for Communications

Tisha Benton, vice chancellor for communications.

Tisha Calabrese Benton

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis announced the appointment of Tisha Benton as vice chancellor for communications.

Benton’s first day as the university’s chief communications and marketing officer will be December 17. She will serve on the chancellor’s cabinet as a key advisor and member of the university’s senior leadership team.

Benton will oversee the Office of Communications and Marketing and WUOT-FM 91.9, the university’s public radio station.

“Tisha is a thoughtful, well-respected, and trusted leader in the state,” said Davis. “She has extensive experience with large, complex organizations and brings a unique perspective to this position. I look forward to working with her to move ahead with the university’s communications and marketing goals.”

Quantum Lock Wins Fall 2018 Vol Court Pitch Competition

Fall 2018 Vol Court Pitch CompetitionA smart lock with increased security technology won the top prize at this semester’s Vol Court Pitch Competition. Erica Grant, a UT graduate student from Richmond, Virginia, pitched Quantum Lock in the semiannual competition and speaker series hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

Grant designed Quantum Lock to increase smart lock security by utilizing a fundamental property of light.

“Many people are upgrading to smart locks because they offer the convenience of unlocking the door with a smartphone app and the illusion of high-tech security. Unfortunately, smart locks can be less secure than traditional locks,” said Grant, a doctoral candidate studying quantum computing in the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

Grant’s first-place prize includes $1,500 from Red Stag Fulfillment, office space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, consulting services courtesy of PYA, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group, design services from Innovative Design Inc., and web design services from Make Me Modern.

Engineering Vols Win at NSBE Conference Tech Bowl

Engineering Vols won first place in the Academic Technology Bowl at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Region 3 Conference on November 17, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama. This is UT NSBE’s first top win in this competition.

“It feels great,” said Hunter Mann, NSBE telecommunications chair. “It was a very close competition the entire time, and it literally came down to the last question. I’m so glad we were able to bring it home for UT.”

The UT NSBE family enjoyed a memorable time bonding during the conference. They will go on to compete at the national convention March 27-31, 2019, in Detroit.

“We’ll definitely hold more study sessions to prepare for the national conference,” said Mann.

Alumni Honored at Annual Haslam College of Business Gala

The Haslam College of Business toasted the achievements of three alumni and one corporate partner at its 10th annual Alumni Awards Gala on November 9.

Approximately 350 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college attended the celebration. The event included cocktails and a silent auction followed by dinner and the awards presentation.

See this year’s awardees.