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Department of Energy


Music Grad Student Wins Research Award to Have KSO Play His Compositions

Assistant Professor Andrew Sigler works with graduate student Dennis Belisle.

At 46, in the midst of a successful career as a commercial musician, music director, teacher, and performer, Dennis Belisle decided to enroll in UT’s School of Music to pursue a new dream—being a composer.

He completed a bachelor’s degree in sacred music in spring 2018 and immediately began working on his Master of Music degree in composition degree with a theory pedagogy certificate.

Belisle graduates in December, and he’s wrapping up his studies on a very high note: members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will perform his musical compositions during a special concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 15, at the Powell Recital Hall in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.

Belisle received the inaugural Robert W. Pedersen Memorial Research Award to fund the performance. Pedersen, a UT alumnus, left money to the university in an endowment earmarked “for awards for outstanding performance by students and/or faculty.”

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Governor’s Chair for Electrical Energy Conversion and Storage Thomas Zawodzinski as one of 10 recipients of Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) grants.

The grants are part of the agency’s focus on research that can provide a minimum of 100 hours of power to the grid as part of its Duration Addition to electricitY Storage (DAYS) program.

For his part, Zawodzinski’s team is taking a new approach to an old problem—efficiency—by changing a critical reaction.

“It has long been a goal to make a regenerative fuel cell, a single device that functions as both a fuel cell and an electrolyzer,” Zawodzinski said. “However, such devices have previously suffered from poor overall efficiency. The new project uses an alternative approach by changing one of the chemical reactions in the cell and bypassing the efficiency bottleneck.” Continue reading