Episode 23: Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah has a passion for public health and teaching students
Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, a former ORISE Fellow at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the undergraduate program director for Health Policy and and Behavioral Sciences at the Georgia State University School of Public Health. She was honored with the 2023 Early Career Teaching Excellence Award from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health for her passion for teaching and her service to her profession. In this conversation for the ORISE Featurecast, Armstrong-Mensah talks about her work as a clinical professor, taking students to Ghana to study public health issues, and how public health issues in one part of the world impact people everywhere, and so much more. Learn more about Armstong-Mensah at her ORISE Success Story.
Transcript available soon.
Eriko Padron Regalado is an ORISE Fellow at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he is conducting research on immunoassays and vaccines. Eriko is originally from Mexico and has studied in Saudi Arabia and at Oxford University in England. He is joined by Yvonne Garcia, health communications specialist at the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who conducts outreach in an effort to recruit Hispanic students into science. Padron shares his incredible career journey (seriously, it's amazing), and he and Garcia discuss the importance of representation in the sciences. Both are committed to opening up opportunities in science for young Hispanic students and researchers. Join host Michael Holtz for an interesting and engaging conversation. Learn more about Regalado at his ORISE Success Story.
Transcript available soon.
Mariah Guevara, who holds a biomedical engineering degree from Brown University, has a full plate and she loves it! At the time she and host Michael Holtz had this conversation, Guevara had recently been named a Fulbright Scholar. She was teaching students to prepare for the American College Testing (ACT) Test part time, conducting research at a local university and studying for the Medical College Admission Test. And, she was preparing to go to Spain to teach English as part of her Fulbright Scholarship. She had been an ORISE intern at the Department of Homeland Security Transition Branch, where she synthesized data about innovative technologies for a report that Congress will use to determine funding. Tune in for a fun and informative interview.
Transcript available soon.
This is a special edition of the ORISE Featurecast, wherein host Michael Holtz interviewed the winners of the Ignite Off! competition during the ORISE National Postdoc Appreciation Week Symposium, held Wednesday, September 20. Amanda Fanelli de Souza, Madeline Addis and Samaria Estrella discuss their Ignite Off! presentations, the trajectories of their academic and research careers, obstacles they have faced as women in STEM, and the importance of mentorship and collaboration. The conversation was fun and, we hope, enlightening. Give it a listen. Learn more about the ORISE Ignite Off!
Transcript coming soon.
Jennifer Childress, a high school science teacher in Alaska, recently completed the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship. During her fellowship, Childress was part of the Department of Defense STEM program. Her experience as an educator proved valuable to helping shape some of the programming offered through DoD STEM. In this episode, Michael Holtz and Bryan Campbell talk to Childress and Jill Latchana, program manager for the AEF program. The AEF program provides unique opportunities for accomplished K-12 STEM educators to serve 11 months in a federal agency or U.S. Congressional office. Einstein Fellows bring their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to their host offices to inform federal STEM education efforts. Einstein Fellows gain knowledge, resources, and broader perspectives on national educational issues that can then be brought back to the classroom or to leadership positions in their districts or elsewhere. Einstein Fellows bring their expertise, practical insights, and real-world experience as classroom teachers to Congress and to branches of federal government in an effort to contribute to the educational outcomes of research, award, and instructional programs at the sponsoring agencies. To learn more, or to apply for the AEF, visit https://orise.orau.gov/news/archive/2022/albert-einstein-distinguished-educator-fellowship-applications-open.html
Transcript available soon.
The DOE Scholars Program is designed to create a pipeline of highly qualified talent in disciplinary fields that support mission critical areas of the U.S. Department of Energy. While DOE is focused on science and research, not everyone in the Scholars Program has a background in STEM. Cristina Cordero, program coordinator for the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship, is a former DOE Scholar with a background in communications and public administration. She is also a mentor for the Scholars program. In this episode, Cordero and host Michael Holtz discuss her role, the trajectory of her career, and how she got to where she is today. Learn more about the DOE Scholars Program.
Joe Giove is the director of business operations in the Office of Carbon Management for the U.S. Department of Energy. Among his many duties, Giove is a mentor for the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship, a 10-week summer research fellowship for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM majors. In this episode, Giove and host Michael Holtz discuss his role at DOE, the MLEF program and the important role such programs play in the development of a scientific career, and the value of mentorship from the perspective of being a mentee and a mentor. A lot of ground get covered during this great conversation. To learn more about the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship, visit https://orise.orau.gov/mlef/.
Transcript available soon.
Earlier this summer, the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) hosted the NATO Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Medical Symposium in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The event brought together experts from around the world to share best practices to prepare for events where large numbers of people could be exposed to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear elements. Imagine, for example, a drone carrying fentanyl flying over a stadium crowded with people. Robbie Beech, a military emergency care nurse from the United Kingdom who leads the NATO CBRN Training Panel, was instrumental in organizing the symposium. In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, Michael Holtz and Adam Delahoussaye discuss the importance of the summit, what experts shared and learned, and what happens next. (NOTE: The conversation took place in a Knoxville coffee shop, so there is some coffee-related background noise.)
Asha Dee Celestine is an ORISE Science, Technology and Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy. She and her team research hydrogen as a critical element of our clean energy infrastructure to reduce our carbon footprint. She is the first faculty appointment in an ORISE research participation program to be interviewed for the ORISE Featurecast. Her portfolio includes research and development project management, strategy development, stakeholder engagement, SME in composite materials and mechanics of materials, and international collaboration in DOE's hydrogen storage and delivery infrastructure program. She is a visiting faculty member in the Auburn University Department of Aerospace Engineering.
Jeremy Busby is associate laboratory director for Isotope Science and Engineering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Before he was named associate lab director, he held other roles throughout ORNL, and is a former ORISE participant as well. In this conversation, Busby and host Michael Holtz discuss the various roles Busby has held, how he honed his interest in science, and how valuable mentorship, both being mentored and mentoring others, is to the scientific enterprise as a whole. Learn more about ORISE internships and fellowships.
Katherine Wozniak, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, writes about research being conducted at Los Alamos to ensure her audience, especially policymakers, understands research that includes biotechnological advances in the agricultural sector, and so much more. Wozniak also spent two summers 10 years ago as an ORISE research program participant doing analytical chemistry at the Tobacco and Volatiles Branch of the Division of Laboratory Sciences at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this conversation with host Michael Holtz, Wozniak talks about how her background has set the foundation for her current role and how scientists leverage the resources in the national laboratory system.
Cedar Blazek is training program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program, which helps other agencies in the federal government meet their energy and water efficiency management goals. The training program offers accredited courses to help anyone, whether in government or not, learn how to manage their environmental impact. In this conversation, Blazek and host Michael Holtz discuss the importance of her work and of sustainability, her previous experience as an ORISE Science, Technology and Policy Fellow at DOE, and her evolution from the world of science policy to training in energy efficiency.
Seni Adeniji is a project manager at Microsoft and a former ORISE research program participant in the Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Adeniji has a passion for science and for mentoring and lifting others up, which shows in his work and his writing. During this conversation with host Michael Holtz, Adeniji talks about his ORISE experience, being on both sides of the mentoring experience and the passions that drive him. He also talks about how a presentation called Ignite Off changed the momentum of his career.
Cancer patients treated with radiation therapy may be required to make daily trips to their cancer treatment center over the course of five, seven or more weeks to experience the full effects of their treatment. While beneficial, this fractional form of radiation therapy can cause serious side effects like burning, blistering, swelling, pain and other side effects in healthy tissue. This type of treatment can also be a barrier for patients with transportation, employment and childcare issues. FLASH radiation, a form of ultrahigh-dose precision radiation, can deliver an entire radiation dose in a single treatment. Dr. Adayabalam Balajee, director of the Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory at REAC/TS, is conducting early research on the effectiveness of FLASH as part of an ORAU-Directed Research and Development project with researchers at the Columbia University School of Medicine. In this episode, host Michael Holtz and Dr. Balajee discuss the promise of FLASH and the impact it could have on the future of cancer treatment. Balajee is presenting “Radiobiological Effects of FLASH on Human Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes: A Multiparametric Approach” at the 25th Nuclear Medical Defense Conference in Munich, Germany this week. To learn more about Dr. Balajee and the CBL, visit https://orise.orau.gov/reacts/cytogenetic-biodosimetry-laboratory.html.
Dr. Brian J. Anderson, director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of the Department of Energy (DOE), is the first DOE laboratory director to join host Michael Holtz for the ORISE Featurecast. In his capacity at NETL director, Anderson manages the complete NETL complex, including delivery and execution of the Laboratory’s mission. Anderson leads NETL’s national programs, in fossil energy and other DOE mission areas, with industry, universities, and national laboratories. In this conversation, Anderson talks about how NETL works at the community level on the transition to renewables, and how programs like ORISE are critical to the future of energy science.
Dr. Alexandra Hakala, senior fellow for geologic and environmental systems in the Research Innovation Center at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, discusses the formative nature of her ORISE Research Participation Program experience at NETL, how her interest in STEM developed, and her experience being mentored and mentoring others.
Geneva Gray, doctoral candidate in Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University and a current ORISE participant at the Environmental Protection Agency, was named the ORISE Future of Science Graduate Student and Post-Master's Award winner in 2022. She studies how extreme precipitation events change under future warming conditions using stakeholder-driven case studies and extreme value analysis. Gray holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in Meteorology and Environmental Sciences and a master’s degree in Atmospheric Science, where she studied quantitative methods on climate model ensemble selection. ORISE Featurecast host Michael Holtz talked with Gray about her award, her career, mentorship and what drove her interest in science.
Clark, a fourth-grade teacher at Mary Munford Elementary School in Richmond, won the CIA Mission Possible Classroom Transformation competition in 2021, through which she received $25,000 to buy new technology for her classroom. In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz talks to Clark and some of her students about how new technology has transformed her classroom, her school and their lives. Two competitions sponsored by the CIA are open right now: CIA Mission Possible Makerspace Nation, which will award a $30,000 makerspace to one K-12 STEAM educator each in Chicago, Kansas City and Omaha; and CIA Mission Possible Operation Advance Technology, which will award five $60,000 computer and coding stations to K-8 STEAM educators across the country. Learn more at the links below:
CIA Mission Possible Makerspace Nation and CIA Mission Possible Operation Advance Technology are sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency and administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.
Mentoring is associated with academic and career success across disciplines and career stages in higher education. However, inadequate training can reduce the effectiveness of the mentor-to-mentee learning experience. In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz has a conversation with Melissa McDaniels, Ph.D., associate executive director and scientist at the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They discuss the importance of mentorship, and how both mentors and mentees can prepare for and effectively communicate for a successful experience. McDaniels will lead an interactive webinar on Tuesday, January 31, that will address the importance of mentor training, and explore resources and opportunities available for mentorship education.
Register for the webinar here: https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_1mkRTHJnTKucvqZxHGol5Q
Brooke Vollmer is an ORISE fellow in the Research Branch at the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), which is a division within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) located in Pittsburgh. In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz talks to Vollmer about her role at NIOSH, how she got interested in a career in STEM, and so much more. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in Spring 2020. Throughout her education, she gained her research experience at NIOSH/NPPTL, first as a summer intern (2019) and regular fellow (2020-2021) prior to beginning her ORISE journey (2021-present). Vollmer has contributed to an abundance of research projects within her division and by representing NIOSH/NPPTL in research collaborations with outside organizations. She has focused her efforts on research that looks into understanding the factors that affect respirator performance, such as fit and filtration efficiency. This research helps to protect workers worldwide who rely on respirators to prevent occupational disease and illness.
ORISE is currently accepting applications for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2023 Environmental Management Graduate Fellowship Program. This program is an opportunity under the auspices of the DOE Office of Environmental Management’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program. Host Michael Holtz is joined by Phonecia Myers, program manager for the EM MSIPP. They discuss how the program is designed to provide science and engineering students and graduates from Minority Serving Institutions an opportunity for training and mentorship in targeted technical areas of interest and needs of the DOE-EM workforce, and the great pool of talent available from MSIs, and some of the research that participants in this program may undertake. To learn more and apply (deadline is December 31, 2022), visit https://orise.orau.gov/doe-environmental-fellowships/
Ryan M. Corey is an ORISE Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Professor Andrew Singer in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a hearing aid user since he was a teenager, Corey’s research focuses on signal processing strategies to help people hear better in noisy environments. In particular, he is developing systems that allow multiple sensors and audio devices to work together to improve performance in adverse environments. Corey is the recipient of the inaugural ORISE Future of Science Postdoctoral Award, which he received earlier this year. In this conversation, Corey and host Michael Holtz discuss Corey's research, how he became interested in science, and what happens next in his career.
To learn more about the ORISE Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, visit https://orise.orau.gov/icpostdoc/
Susan Ehrlich, a former assistant U.S. Attorney and a former judge in Arizona, recently wrote a memorandum for the Central Department of Energy Institutional Review Board discussing explicit and implicit biases in human subjects research. Bias is a critically important issue in research, ensuring that biases are addressed and don't exclude participation in human subjects research. In this conversation, Ehrlich shares how she came to be the first author of the memorandum, why it's important and what happens next.