Meet the new officers!

FOSEP has some brand new officers in charge for the 2017 academic year. Let’s give them a warm welcome!

PRESIDENT: Marie Kirkegaard 

Marie is a graduate research assistant at the Bredesen Center. Her research interests are in actinide chemistry, specifically as it relates to challenges in nuclear security. She currently works with Brian Anderson at ORNL using theoretical and spectroscopic methods to probe the chemistry of uranyl fluorides. She is also a Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellow with the Department of Homeland Security.

Marie grew up in the Chicago suburbs but moved to sunny Southern California to earn a B.S. in Chemical Physics from Harvey Mudd College. She is particularly interested in the intersection of science and policy. She has taken courses on nuclear security and nuclear weapons and is interested in foreign policy and counter-terrorism. On a more local scale, she is passionate about the communication of science and served as the former Vice President of FOSEP.


Guin is a Bredesen Center GRA, pursuing a Ph.D in Energy Science and Engineering with a Concentration in Surface Characterization Diagnostics and Plasma Material Interactions. Her research is performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division under the supervision of Ted Biewer. She completed her B. S. in Solar Earth and Planetary Sciences from Florida Institute of Technology.

Guin is also interested in energy policy and project management for future energy sources with a specific interest in nuclear and fusion related fields. She has been actively involved with FOSEP, and has won 3rd place in the Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge.


Holly is a Bredesen Center GRA with research interests lie in the utilization of plasma spectroscopy and a collisional radiative model (CRM) to measure electron temperature and density in a Oak Ridge National Laboratory linear plasma, with Ted Biewer as well. She earned her B. S. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Holly is actively interested in policies regulating nuclear fission and fusion. She has worked on a law review related to licensing and regulation of fusion energy in the US.

TREASURER: Scott Satinover

Scott is pursuing his PhD in Energy Science and Engineering at the Bredesen Center. Under the supervision of Abhijeet Borole at ORNL, he is working on designing and characterizing bioelectrochemical reactors that use oil well produced water at ORNL. This waste water, which is otherwise disposed of underground, could be useful for producing electricity, hydrogen, or other novel compounds for a variety of additional energy applications. He hopes that this technology will help to mitigate the environmental impacts of waste water injection, which can run the risk of contaminating shallow/surface aquifers and may be linked to induced earth quakes.

Scott is originally from Oak Park, Illinois. He earned a combined Bachelors and Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After graduation he worked as a hydraulic fracturing engineer for Halliburton, based out of Hobbs, New Mexico, for three years. When Scott isn’t working at the lab or on campus, he can be found writing short stories and opinion pieces. He also volunteers on the weekends at Habitat for Humanity and FIRST Robotics to name a few.

COMMUNICATIONS: Joy Buongiorno and Humaira Taz

joyJoy is a third year PhD student in the microbiology program at UT with a background in zoology and geology. She studies microorganisms that live in sediments in Arctic fjords to understand how they will respond to a warming climate. She routinely couples genomic data and novel molecular techniques with environmental geochemical parameters to build a holistic understanding of her system.

She has served as president of Darwin Day at UT, is the social media coordinator for the Department of Microbiology, and is the coordinator for the Knoxville pod of the global organization 500 Women Scientists. She is very passionate about outreach within the community and promoting scientific literacy to enhance appreciation for fact-based policy.

tazHumaira is a fourth year PhD student at the Bredesen Center, working on multifunctional semiconductor oxides for energy related applications under the supervision of Ramki Kalyanaraman. She is originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and came to the US for her undergrad studies. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematical Sciences from Wesleyan College in Macon, GA.

Besides her research, Humaira is interested in science outreach and science writing. She has served as a judge in the South Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair for middle school students for two consecutive years, and currently volunteers at Writer Coach Communication to help middle school students with their writing assignments.

RECRUITMENT: Cole Pawlaczyk cole

Cole is an undergraduate student in the Haslam College of Business.  His interests are in healthcare administration and policy.  He is also involved with the Student Government Association: Government Affairs Committee, The UT Men’s Project, UT Investment Group, and College Republicans.  

Upcoming Events for Spring 2017

~By Humaira Taz

Welcome everyone for another activity-filled semester with your campus science policy group! Our goal this semester is not only to expand our presence on campus, but also to collaborate with different campus organizations and program events to demonstrate how omnipresent science policy is in our lives. Getting involved in science policy is a job exclusive to neither journalists/political science majors nor science majors. Science pervades in all aspects of our lives so it’s very important to get involved in the policies that govern the direction in which scientific research goes. This means we cannot simply leave the burden of this responsibility only to small percentage of the population. If we are to live the consequences of the policies made, we need to get involved ourselves. So without further delay, here is the list of upcoming activities FOSEP has planned for you this semester.

  1. Discussion with Senator Briggs; March 31st, 2017, afternoon. Image result for senator briggs tennesseeDr. Richard Briggs is a Republican member of the Tennessee State Senate, representing District 7, and was first elected to the chamber in 2014. He obtained his B. S. from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and went on to attend the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Upon his graduation from there in 1978, he joined the military services and rose to the rank of a full Colonel. He is a vital figure in sponsoring bills influencing healthcare in Tennessee (a full list of bills he sponsored can be found here). Officers of FOSEP and two members of the FOSEP legislative team will meet with Senator Briggs to have an open discussion, with the objective of getting involved on a local level at policy-making.
  2. Beyond Academia: Environmental Edition; April 8th, 2017, 10AM-3PM; UT Panhellenic Building. altCareerThis event, in collaboration with GREBE, is a dive into all the career options one can go into with a science degree. There will be panelists from government agencies, NGOs, the CDC, ORNL, science policy organizations, science communicators, the Knoxville Zoo, and more! They will be available to answer your questions about what can you do with a science degree other than being in the academia, how can you prepare yourself ahead of time, what kind of networking skills might be vital starting even from your undergrad days….and pretty much any question you can come up with. As a fourth year grad student who is just now trying to figure out what steps to take for transitioning into a science writing career, I can affirm that this event will benefit undergrads and early stage grad students more than you might anticipate. So don’t miss out on this gem! Check out the event on our Facebook page for more details.
  3. Staged reading of “Informed Consent” by Deborah Zoe Laufer; April 23rd, 2017, 6:30PM-8:30PM; Hodges Library Auditorium.Image result for informed consent play Photo source:

“Informed Consent” by Deborah Zoe Laufer is a play that was inspired by a court case between a Native American tribe and an Arizona University. It addresses issues such as science vs belief, and whether the public has a right to choose what they want to know, or what they would rather stay in the dark about. The play has received excellent reviews from well-known organizations such as the New York Times, Cleveland Examiner, Broad Street Review to name a few. The staged reading will be in collaboration with the campus organization All-Campus Theater, followed by a panel Q&A/discussion session. To say the least, this event is an entertaining way to think deeper about how science policy affects our lives. I wouldn’t miss it! Facebook event for this coming soon!

For now this is all folks, but we will surely have some more events going in the very-near future!