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Recognitions, July 22

The end of July brings; a new director of UT’s West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center; Boyd Venture Challenge awards funding to four UT student startups; UT Extension names a new Farm Management Specialist; two TCE faculty leaders join IAspire Leadership Academy; two doctoral students in the Department of Nuclear Engineering receive the 2020 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R and D Award.

UT AgResearch Names New Director of West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center

Scott D. Stewart, director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education CenterAn entomologist well known to row crop producers throughout the South, Scott D. Stewart, has been named by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture as the next director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson.

Stewart has worked at the AgResearch and Education Center as a faculty member of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology since 2002. Prior to that, he served at Mississippi State University for seven years. His pedigree includes serving as author, co-author or presenter on hundreds of scientific papers as well as shepherding nine students through graduate school. Stewart himself earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Northern Iowa, a master’s degree in entomology from Texas A&M, and his doctorate in entomology from Auburn University.

Boyd Venture Challenge Awards Funding to Four UT Student Startups

Boyd Venture Challenge winners

Four businesses owned by students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, were awarded a total of $30,000 in seed funds in the spring 2020 Boyd Venture Challenge. The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Haslam College of Business hosts the annual grant competition.

Start-up companies Brakefields LLC, Rolling Storage LLC, AltFair Solutions LLC, and LEAPh Biosystems LLC were chosen as the winners.

The Boyd Venture Challenge is open to UT undergraduate and graduate students from any field of study. Since the fund’s inception in 2011, 40 student-owned companies have been awarded a total of $442,000 in seed capital to advance their businesses.

UT Extension Names Narayanan Area Farm Management Specialist

Christopher R. Narayanan, UT Extension area farm management specialistProducers and farmers in West Tennessee can now benefit from the expertise and guidance of a new member of University of Tennessee Extension. As of July 1, Christopher R. Narayanan has been hired as a UT Extension area farm management specialist and will serve West Tennessee families as they work to make their farms, families and communities stronger.

A proud Texas Aggie, Narayanan studied at Texas A&M University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in rangeland ecology and management. As a student, He competed on the Texas A&M rodeo team and helped fund his own education by working as a ranch hand and commodity broker’s assistant. Narayanan also holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Faculty Leaders Kilic and Keppens Chosen for IAspire Academy

UT's Tickle College of Engineering faculty Ozlem Kilic and Verle Keppens

Professors Ozlem Kilic and Veerle Keppens join Associate Professor Jamie Coble as fellows in the IAspire Leadership Academy, part of the national Aspire Alliance.

The alliance, also known as the National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty, was created through National Science Foundation funding to catalyze institutional and national change to improve diversity and inclusion in universities and colleges. The role of the academy is develop leaders for these changes.

Kilic is associate dean of academic and student affairs for the college and Keppens is a Chancellor’s Professor and head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Gorton and Hernandez Win 2020 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards

Nuclear engineering doctoral students Jacob Gorton and Richard Hernandez recently received the 2020 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R and D Award for their research.

Nuclear engineering doctoral student Jacob GortonGorton’s research focuses on the nuclear reactor and safety performance of a unique fuel form that consists of a mixture of thorium mononitride (ThN) and uranium mononitride (UN). Hernandez’s research focuses on projects in support of the advanced fuels campaign (AFC), the accident tolerant fuel (ATF) program, and an Idaho National Laboratory-directed project focused on designing a non-nuclear critical heat flux (CHF) experiment for the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility

Nuclear engineering doctoral student Richard HernandezHernandez received the award for his work in coupling neutronics and thermal hydraulics design. These are useful for developing non-nuclear borated heater rodlets for critical heat flux (CHF) experimentation.

For this research, he took advantage of the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility at Idaho National Laboratory, which is a thermal spectrum test nuclear reactor designed to test reactor fuels and structural materials.