A passion for all things STEM: A conversation with Seni Adeniji
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.
Check out the videocast of Adeniji's episode
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.
Transcript available soon.
Check out the videocast of Balajee's episode
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.
Check out the videocast of Anderson's episode
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.
Check out the videocast of Hakala's episode
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
Check out the videocast for this episode
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.
Check out the videocast for this episode
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/
Check out the videocast for this episode
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/
Check out the videocast for this episode
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.
Dr. Hilary Marston, an internal medicine physician by training, has long had an interest in public health and global health policy. In 2013, she began work at the National Institutes of Health as an ORISE research program participant as at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she was mentored by Dr. Anthony Fauci and worked on several outbreaks including Ebola, Zika and COVID-19. She also worked for the National Security Council and the White House COVID Response Team before being named Chief Medical Officer at the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. In this conversation, Marston tells host Michael Holtz how her ORISE experience played a key role in the trajectory of her career, discusses her mentors, how she enjoys mentoring future scientists and so much more.
Check out the videocast for Episode 99
We wrap our celebration of National Postdoc Week with an enlightening and inspiring interview with Christina Wildfire, a two-time ORISE research program participant at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Wildfire's research has focused on using microwave energy to revitalize the coal industry. Currently, as an employee at NETL, she works with scientists and industry to reduce carbon emissions. In this conversation with host Michael Holtz, Wildfire discusses her journey into science (she didn't start out with a plan to study engineering) and the trajectory of her impactful career. Learn more about Dr. Wildfire and NETL here: https://orise.orau.gov/netl/experiences/wildfire.html
Check out the videocast for Episode 98
As part of our annual observance of National Postdoc Week, this episode of the ORISE Featurecast focuses on Julie Spencer, Ph.D., an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program researcher, who uses mathematics to track and, in collaboration with other scientists, research how to end human suffering from communicable diseases. In this episode, Julie talks to host Michael Holtz about her ongoing work, how she developed an interest in science and math, the importance of collaboration for success in today's research environment, and the value of mentorship, both as a mentor and mentee in the development of her career. Join us for an interesting and, dare we say, fun conversation. Learn more about the ORISE IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship here: https://orise.orau.gov/icpostdoc/. You can read more about Julie here: https://orise.orau.gov/resources/stem/professional-development/success-stories/spencer.html.
Check out the videocast for Episode 97
We all deliver and consume information through the lens of our own biases. Individuals can get the same information and have the same resources, but come to wildly different conclusions. Nick Byrd, a researcher in the ORISE Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, uses their background studying philosophy and applied engineering to help people understand their cognitive biases and engage in reflective thinking to de-bias decision-making processes. The intent isn't to change minds or opinions, but to engage us in critical thinking. Learn more about Nick's work during this conversation with host Michael Holtz. You can learn more about the ORISE IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship here: About ORISE | IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program. You can also read more about Nick here: https://orise.orau.gov/resources/stem/professional-development/success-stories/byrd.html
For Jonathan Levine, reading the 2002 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report made it clear that global warming and its effects on those of lower-income households were clearly and swiftly becoming a reality. After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Levine became a participant of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Postgraduate Research Program, studying deep sea gas and oil rising through the ocean. Levine left academia and started his own company called Folia Materials to address environmental issues. Jonathan talks to host Michael Holtz about his NETL experience, how ORISE helped build his career, and the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork. You can also read more about Jonathan's experience at NETL here: https://orise.orau.gov/netl/experiences/levine.html
Check out the videocast for Episode 94
Kourtney Purham, a STEM teacher at Kramer Elementary School in Washington, D.C., was one of three winners of the CIA Mission Possible Classroom Transformation competition in 2021. After 15 years at another school, Purham's win of $25,000 in new technology for her classroom definitely made an impression. During this conversation, she and host Michael Holtz discuss what the last year has been like, how her students and her school have benefited from the new technology, and the learning challenges that still exist for her students. The conversation took place in a coffee shops just blocks away from the school, in the neighborhood where Purham lives and works. ORISE manages the Mission Possible program for the Central Intelligence Agency.
In this episode, host Michael Holtz talks with Dr. Carol Iddins, director of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site, or REAC/TS. REAC/TS is a world-renowned Department of Energy asset located at ORISE. Dr. Iddins talks about the work of REAC/TS, the importance of their role for both DOE and the National Nuclear Security Agency, and how her team is always ready to respond in the event of a radiation incident.
Check out the videocast for Episode 89
This episode of Further Together, the ORAU Podcast, is an ORISE Featurecast. Host Michael Holtz talked with Jim Vosburg, Ph.D., director of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education about the work ORISE does across five performance areas and plans in progress to mark 30 years.
Check out the videocast for Episode 84
In our fourth conversation about National Postdoc Appreciation Week, host Michael Holtz talk to Erin Burr about her postdoc experience and how that experience developed into the work she does today. We also discuss how she became interested in a STEM career and so much more. We've enjoyed observing National Postdoc Appreciation Week through these conversations. We hope you enjoyed listening to this special edition of the ORISE Featurecast.
It's National Postdoc Appreciation Week! We're celebrating at the ORISE Featurecast by talking with folks within our organization who have their own postdoc experiences to share. This week, host Michael Holtz talks with Ann Martin about her experience, what drew her to pursue a career in STEM, and how her experience shaped who she is today.
National Postdoc Appreciation Week is September 21-25. In preparation for the observance, ORISE Featurecast host Michael Holtz sat down with four members of our team who shared about their own postdoc experiences. In this episode, he talked to Rachel Creager, who discusses her postdoc experience, how she got interested in a career in the STEM fields and what she does today. Give a listen!
National Postdoc Appreciation Week is September 21-25. In preparation for the observance, ORISE Featurecast host Michael Holtz sat down with four members of our team who shared about their own postdoc experiences. First up is Rachel Hill, who discusses her postdoc experience, how she got interested in a career in the STEM fields and what she does today. Give a listen!
In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz talks about the National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship, which is managed by ORISE. Ryleigh Moore, a doctoral candidate and program participant; Marissa Torres, Ryleigh's mentor; and Jennifer Burnette, the program manager. Ryleigh talks about the many avenues she has open to her because of the program and the potential that exists. She says she is excited about the future and wants to do something where she can help the most people.
Workplaces across the country shifted to remote work to protect people from the fast-spreading coronavirus a year ago, including national laboratories and other federal research agencies. At one point, 80% of ORISE research participation program participants were working remotely. The task to make that shift was enormous, considering RPPs are not designed for remote work. With expert guidance from the ORISE workforce development team and by deploying the technology we've all become used to over the last year, the transition to remote work went smoothly. So did the transition to remote teacher professional development and student STEM education programs, thanks to the K-12 STEM Education team. How did they do it, how will this impact programs for the future, and what happens next? We discuss all of this and more in this extended episode of the ORISE Featurecast.
The Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program was established in 2000 to support unclassified basic research in areas of interest to the intelligence community. Funded primarily by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the program annually supports several Postdoctoral Fellows from U.S. accredited colleges, universities, and U.S. Government laboratories across the country. In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz sits down virtually with Helena Liuag, IC postdoc program manager; Nebila Lichiheb and Yun Tao, two postdocs participating in the program; and Kevin Lafferty, research advisor. The conversation covers everything from how the program works, to the types of research opportunities available, to the day in the life of a postdoc working from home during a pandemic. Postdoctoral students interested in applying should visit https://orise.orau.gov/icpostdoc/. Deadline to apply is February 26, 2021.
Adayabalam Balajee, Ph.D., director of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory Director, is a busy and prolific researcher. Most recently, he co-authored a manuscript in partnership with colleagues at the University of Tennessee that was recently published in Nature Communications. He has also developed the Chromosome Challenge, which gamifies the identification of dicentric chromosomes with the ultimate goal of recruiting people to assist with the identification process in the event of a radiation emergency. Not unexpectedly, he has other projects in the pipeline. ORISE Featurecast hosts Jenna Harpenau and Michael Holtz spent some time catching up with Balajee last month. Join us for a great conversation.
Dr. Mark Ervin has experienced a lot of firsts in his career, but joining REAC/TS as the new associate director in the middle of a pandemic certainly stands out. In this episode, you'll learn about Dr. Ervin's background, work experience, hopes for the future of this ORISE crown jewel, and even hear about the Zen of fishing without bait. Jenna and Michael had a great conversation with Dr. Ervin for this episode of the ORISE Featurecast. We hope you'll join us.
This episode of the ORISE Featurecast is a conversation with Chic Thompson, founder of WAGI Labs, and Kayla Canario, ORISE K-12 program manager. ORISE and WAGI Labs are working together to help students learn the concepts of design thinking, entrepreneurship and empathy so they can solve problems in their communities. Together, ORISE and WAGI Labs have created a free game that helps students learn these concepts. Learn all about during this episode of the ORISE Featurecast.
In May, ORISE launched a mobile app called ORISE GO. The app offers college students, recent graduates and postdoctoral students a mobile tool to search and apply for hundreds of science, technology, engineering and math internships, fellowships and research opportunities at national labs and facilities across the United States. The ORISE GO app also provides a platform to remain engaged, connected and informed during the ORISE experience—from application, to offer, through the appointment and even as an ORISE alum. Join hosts Michael Holtz and Jenna Harpenau as they invite Leslie Fox and Chelsea Gibson to hang out around the virtual coffee table.
Jill Latchana says it's the little things that bring her joy, like a dance party with her five children to celebrate 15 years of marriage to her husband, Neil. Here five children each have different ethnic backgrounds, all are adopted or being fostered, and they clearly bring her joy. You'll hear in her voice as she talks about balancing work, life and caring for her kids during the COVID-19 lockdown in Maryland. Latchana manages the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Program for ORISE. Jenna and Michael talk to Jill about how she and Neil balance work with life as foster parents (they've fostered 18 kids), how they made the decision to adopt, how they pour love into the lives of their foster kids, and so much more. Life is always interesting, and Jill says it takes a village. She talks about her village people too.
ORISE manages two two-week summer residential programs for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and teachers who want to hone their STEM skills. JSTI APG will take place in Baltimore and JSTI ABQ will take place in Albuquerque. Students and teachers work side-by-side with researchers in academic or government research laboratory settings. Jennifer Tyrell and Kayla Canario of the ORISE K-12 team talk about everything students and teachers need to know about these programs. Applications are now open and the programs, including travel, are free.
ORISE has been tracking stay rates for foreign nationals who come to the United States to earn doctoral degrees in science, engineering and other STEM-related fields since the 1970s. Why is this information important? What does it tell us about higher education in the United States? And what does the future look like for foreign nationals who come here to get their degrees? Leigh Ann Pennington and Mike Finn are experts at tracking this data, and explaining what it all means. Join us for an enlightening conversation.
Craig Layman, Ph.D., associate director of workforce development for ORISE, is openly passionate about scientific workforce development, the people who work at every level of his organization, and their impact on the scientific workforce. In this wide-ranging discussion, we discuss K-12 STEM education, research participation programs at the Department of Energy and other federal facilities, longitudinal research studies and so much more. Get ready for an insightful episode of the ORISE Featurecast, a special edition of the Further Together podcast.
Desmond Stubbs was an academic late-bloomer. While working as a hotel cater waiter, a chance encounter sparked his pursuit of an academic career in chemistry. In November 2019, Desmond Stubbs was honored as this year's HBCU Pioneer by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. The award is given to those who have dedicated a substantial part of their career to the support of historically black colleges and universities, as well as to other underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Stubbs is the director of diversity for ORISE, linking HBCUs with opportunities for students at federal research institutions around the country. Join us for a fun and fascinating conversation.
Julia Steed is a senior at Oak Ridge High School. She spent part of her summer alongside Katie Schuman, a research scientist who specializes in artificial intelligence at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Her experience in ORNL's Next Generation STEM Internship Program has fueled Steed's interest in computer science. She and Schuman discuss the research they conducted, the importance of mentorship for young scientists and the importance of the NEXTGENS program.
Imagine discussing internship and research opportunities with world-renowned scientists from your laptop or mobile device in the comfort of your living room while wearing pajamas. Virtual career fairs allow applicants to do exactly that, which reduces anxiety for applicants, saves money for organizations looking to place candidates, and lets recruiters spend more time with applicants. Amanda Hurley, ORISE section manager for workforce development, and C.J. Mitchell, social media and digital analyst, discuss the importance of virtual career fairs for ORISE.
Janie Kimble and Melissa Jones teach math and science, respectively, at Carlin Combined Schools in rural Carlin, Nevada (population 2,300). They have transformed STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in their school, from how they teach to offering a STEM Club, a robotics team, and so much more. This transformation is possible thanks in part to the Joint Science and Technology Institute, a two-week residential program for high school students and teachers that exposes them to scientific research through hands-on projects. JSTI is managed by ORISE and is sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense.
Adayabalam Balajee, Ph.D., technical director for the ORISE Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory has had a storied research career, including a stint at the National Institutes of Health. In this conversation, Balajee talks about the important work of the CBL in helping determine whether someone has been exposed to radiation and how much; REAC/TS, the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site, which trains medical professionals to respond in the event of a radiation emergency; as well as his research, which includes research with bioprinted tissue. Balajee's work is fascinating. You don't want to miss this episode!
Jim Vosburg, the director of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, which is managed by ORAU for the Department of Energy, talks about his varied career, the programs ORISE offers (scientific workforce development, scientific peer review, the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site, worker health, and independent cleanup verification) and much more. This is an interesting and fun conversation not to be missed!