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2018 ORAU Annual Report

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2018 ORAU Annual Report

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2018 ORAU Annual Report

  1. 1. ORAU Leadership Andy Page ORAU President and Chief Executive Officer Eric Abelquist, Ph.D. ORAU Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer Tom Amidon Director, Safeguards and Security Phil Andrews Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ivan Boatner Vice President and General Counsel Vickie Caughron Chief Audit Officer Donna Cragle, Ph.D. Senior Vice President and Program Director, Health, Energy and Environment David Duncan, Ph.D. Senior Vice President and Program Director, Scientific Assessment and Workforce Development Wanda Gamble Vice President, Business Development Arlene Garrison, Ph.D. Vice President, University Partnerships Carol Iddins, M.D. Director, Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site Jamey Kennedy Strategic Planning Advisor Kristy Kistner Director, Resource Center for Performance Excellence Rachel Lokitz Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Chester Maze Vice President and Chief Information Officer Meghan Millwood Vice President, Human Resources Mae Mosley Director, Employee Relations and Diversity Sarah Roberts Vice President and Director, Independent Environmental Assessments and Verification Monika Schiller Senior Advisor Jim Vosburg, Ed.D. Senior Vice President and Director of ORISE Tom Wantland Director, Environment, Safety and Health Marcus Weseman Vice President and Director, Health Communication ORAU Board of Directors John Boice, Jr., Sc.D. Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University Michelle Buchanan, Ph.D. Deputy for Science and Technology Oak Ridge National Laboratory Deborah Crawford, Ph.D. Vice President for Research George Mason University John Eschenberg President and Project Manager Washington River Protection Solutions, LLC Lt. Gen. Kathleen Gainey U.S. Army (Retired) Bruce Gnade, Ph.D. Executive Director, Hart Center for Engineering Leadership Southern Methodist University Lyle School of Engineering Lt. Gen. Dennis Hejlik, Vice Chair U.S. Marine Corps (Retired) Maj. Gen. Dennis Kenneally U.S. Army (Retired) Karen Kerr, Ph.D. Executive Managing Director Advanced Manufacturing at GE Ventures Michele Masucci, Ph.D. Vice President for Research Temple University Cordell Overby, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for Research and Regulatory Affairs University of Delaware Sethuraman Panchanathan, Ph.D. Executive Vice President ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development Chief Research and Innovation Officer, Arizona State University David Reed, Ph.D., Chair Vice President for Research Michigan Technological University Debra Reinhart, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarship University of Central Florida Kenneth Rueter President and Chief Executive Officer URS | CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR) Ann Savoca, Ph.D. Research and Development Executive (Retired) Diane Grob Schmidt, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, Adjunct Research University of Cincinnati Caroline Whitacre, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor The Ohio State University Contents 4 Letter from the President 6 ORAU Corporate Overview 8 Wanda Gamble: Committed to a winning culture 9 I am an ORAU Leader because ... 10 In their shoes: Leading with empathy 12 Research & University Partnerships 13 Powe awardee researches microgrids 14 ORAU Consortium 15 ORAU-Directed Research and Development Program 16 Summer of discovery: Touring diverse labs, understanding common needs 18 Shaping the progress of science: Data sharing in the Persian Gulf 19 Supporting pediatric cancer research in Florida 28 Profiles in Academic & Career Development 34 Jeff Miller: Leading organizational change in safety and security culture 36 Student-led project improves accuracy of dose reconstruction data for radiation workers 38 Slowing, reversing the decline in U.S. life expectancy 41 Eradicating polio: Mission possible for Alan Janssen 42 Community preparedness: Best practices 49 Bringing cytogenetic biodosimetry to the world 50 In-field scanning simulations: Faster response for radiation accident victims 51 Baxter participates in rapid deployment exercise, receives DOE Secretarial Honor Award 52 Aid to veterans after disasters 54 Erika Bailey: Climbing the industry ladder in independent verification 58 Extreme Classroom Makeover 60 Community Champions and Initiatives 64 Select Leadership Contributions 67 Select Published Works ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). ORISE is a DOE asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world-class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination. ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501 (c )(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. The financial information provided in this report has been derived from the audited financial statements of the ORAU Corporation and the DOE contract fund for the year ended September 30, 2018. These audited financial statements are presented in separately bound reports. Production Staff Director, Communications & Marketing: Pam Bonee Editor: Wendy West Associate Editor: Linda Lange Contributing Writers: Amanda Freuler, Jenna Harpenau, Michael Holtz, Becki Hopson, Linda Lange, Kristin Mattson, Amy Schwinge, Wendy West Designers: Mark Longmire, Melanie Shedlock, Mark Sieger Photographer: Amy Viars
  2. 2. What's inside 20Building on-ramps to a STEM-capable U.S. workforce 30Bridging the gaps to Total Exposure Health through exposure science, unique laboratory testing and lifelong health surveillance 11 Leadership lessons learned in the swimming pool 44 Research Brief: Social media: Helping or hindering vaccination rates? 46 From our backyard to the Baltic States: Sharing unique radiation emergency medicine expertise with the world 56 Atomic finds: Rare collection and curator preserve radiation history 61 Shelia Johnson: Providing sleeping mats for the homeless
  3. 3. Letter from the President Every story has its beginning. For ORAU, it was an opportunity born out of the Manhattan Project of World War II. Scientists and researchers were brought together to work on a top-secret mission in laboratories and government facilities that were the most technologically advanced environments of their time. Once these brilliant minds succeeded in preserving our country’s freedom, they returned home to their universities with an increased desire for access to those resources that would allow them to continue making a difference. The laboratories and facilities also lost their workforces, and these assets were too valuable to the United States to simply fade away. From this challenge emerged what is now known as ORAU. ORAU reconnected these scientists and researchers to the laboratories and facilities through joint appointments, formal scientific fellowships and research internship programs to begin a new mission of scientific discovery and solutions. More than 70 years later, ORAU continues to transform our business to help solve some of the most complex issues around us; and with a consortium of more than 100 universities, our ability to integrate academic, government and scientific resource globally is further strengthened. Our story today is best told through the actions and thinking of our people. In the pages that follow, you will find numerous examples of how ORAU is continuing to make a difference. We are adapting to an ever-changing world, such as the expanding need to grow a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-capable workforce for our nation. Studies show that nurturing a student’s interest in STEM should begin in grade school. That’s why our focus is on building “on- ramps” to allow access to affordable, high quality STEM experiences and training, beginning with kindergarten and continuing well beyond college graduation. Data we have collected demonstrate the value of providing STEM-related research and scientific experiences in eliciting and maintaining interest in pursuit of STEM fields. We are also exploring a newer concept known as Total Exposure Health. The ability to better understand the relationship between lifetime exposure to environmental agents, individual genetic susceptibility and the application of precision medicine can have a major impact on how to approach long-term care and treatment. Using our experience with the health effects of long- term exposure and our unique laboratory testing capabilities, we can assist health care providers and individuals in making informed decisions about potential risks based on predictive analytics. Our story does not end there. Our recently developed five-year strategic plan is only the beginning of our next chapter as we adapt our business to focus on long-term sustainability. Our strategic plan commits us to five focus areas: • Empowering employees • Investing for business growth • Advancing the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education mission • Leveraging our experience/expertise to do great work for more customers • Expanding our research agenda and partnerships to solve more problems From our beginning, ORAU has been based on a simple premise: leveraging our expertise to solve national problems and to advance the pursuit and application of STEM disciplines in service to national priorities in energy, health, security and environmental restoration. Using their knowledge, capabilities and passion, the men and women of ORAU will continue to add their own chapters to our enduring story of scientific and technical support to our nation and the world. Andy Page ORAU President and CEO 4
  4. 4. “Wearenotchasingoneshiny thing after another. We are going to stay in there with our customers for the long haul and evolve with their needs. That kind of commitment is important if we want our clients to trust us with their missions. That’s what sets us apart.” Wanda Gamble Vice President, Business Development “As a government contractor, our industry may be a regulated environment, but our culture doesn’t have to be controlling. Through empowerment, we are freeing up the native genius in our employees and challenging them to lead from every corner of the company. Their best ideas are being amplified in ways that propel our organization forward and ultimately help our customers solve problems.” Meghan Millwood Vice President, Human Resources VOICES OF LEADERSHIP 5
  5. 5. ORAU Corporate Overview 983employees in 24locations 2018 TotalRevenue $395.0 M Workforce Development $306.3 M Health and Environment $60.6 M Scientific Assessment $15.4 M Other $ 8.4 M Preparedness and Response $4.3 M By the Numbers ORAU provided objective peer review services, supporting more than $276 million in funding allocations for Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science program offices in FY18. More than 18,000 experts from 34 countries have been recruited to ORAU’s peer review network. ORAU surveyed more than 3.8 million square feet of structures in FY18 on behalf of DOE and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission following cleanup activities. Independent verification of cleanup activities was conducted at 20 environmental remediation sites across the United States. 43,700 preliminary radiation dose assessments were completed for former energy workers from across the United States over 15 years of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health program. 10,106 internship, fellowship and science education program participants were recruited from 50 U.S. states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and 97 foreign countries in FY18. They were mentored by more than 4,000 engineers and scientists and sponsored by 20 federal departments and agencies. 4,006 participants completed Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) courses and education programs in FY18; these were conducted in 11 states and at 10 international venues. REAC/TS cytogenetic biodosimetry international telescoring network includes uniquely skilled experts and labs from 6 countries. ORAU’s consortium is comprised of 122 sponsoring institutions from 33 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia. 6
  6. 6. ORAU Capabilities Workforce Development - Recruit and prepare the next generation of the U.S. scientific workforce Scientific Assessment - Provide scientific and technical peer reviews and evaluations to inform federal research investments and programs Health and Environment - Protect worker and public health and instill public confidence in environmental cleanup Preparedness and Response - Train, exercise and deploy for radiation emergencies, national security and natural disaster response Research and University Partnerships - Support and advance scientific research in collaboration with ORAU consortium member universities Corporate Awards and Distinctions DOE Voluntary Protection Program Legacy of Stars award for safety (fourth consecutive) ISO 14001:2015 certification for environmental management ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality management 13+ million work hours without a reportable security incident Leadership Awards Carol Iddins, M.D. Director, REAC/TS Fellow, American Academy of Disaster Medicine The award recognizes members of the American Academy of Disaster Medicine who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues and in their communities by their service to disaster medicine. Wayne Baxter, RN, EMT-P Registered Nurse/Paramedic REAC/TS 2018 Secretary of Energy Honor Award Secretary of Energy Rick Perry presented this award to recognize outstanding achievements. It is DOE’s highest form of internal employee recognition for individual or team excellence. Rachel Lokitz Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary 2018 40 Under 40 Award The Greater Knoxville Business Journal award recognizes professionals under 40 years of age who are improving Tennessee through community involvement and specific business accomplishments demonstrating leadership in their field. 7
  7. 7. PROFILE Wanda Gamble: Committed to a winning culture In 2018, ORAU welcomed Wanda Gamble as our new vice president for business development, and we quickly learned she has an infectious passion for people and a savvy head for business. Building on extensive business experience with companies, such as Battelle, SAIC and Booz Allen & Hamilton, she has committed great knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to ORAU’s business growth efforts from her first day on the job. Truly an apostle of the Further.Together. mentality that is the driving force behind ORAU’s brand, Gamble brings people together to support and enhance our customers’ missions. Here, she shares her winning attitude and commitment to business growth and prosperous partnerships at ORAU. Q: What is the essence of your business development philosophy? A: We’re about creating a win-win environment, where we ensure our clients and respective industry partners get their problems solved and needs met while also allowing us to do sustainable, meaningful and profitable work. If everyone can come together around a business opportunity feeling like they’ve won something, that’s a win-win environment where enduring business relationships and partnerships can succeed. ORAU has a long-standing commitment to this kind of winning culture, and we’re going to build on the good work that has already begun here. Q: What is the best way to bring people, partners, expertise and capabilities together to create integrated solutions for our customers? A: It’s about aligning ourselves around the mission and what is important to the customers. The product we offer is our people and partners and their ability to put things together in an integrated way for the customer. We’re insisting on increased engagement with our customers. When we know them better and fully understand their mission and what problems they’re trying to solve, we can offer the right expertise and capabilities, at the right time, so they can make the right decisions. There is great value in that for customers. Q: What do you believe really defines ORAU or sets us apart from other government contractors? A: Our customers know we will always come prepared; we do our homework. We know who they are, and we make a point to understand their business. We are also a not-for-profit contractor with a large consortium of academic partners, and we’re continually reinvesting in research, facilities and people so we can be ready with the best solutions at a reasonable cost when our customers need us. We are not chasing one shiny thing after another. We are going to stay in there with our customers for the long haul and evolve with their needs. That kind of commitment is important if we want our customers to trust us with their missions. That’s what sets us apart. 8
  8. 8. I am an ORAU Leader because … To stimulate cultural transformation and employee empowerment, ORAU launched a new set of Leadership Standards in 2018, recognizing that all employees are leaders. This initiative encourages employees to explore the value of their own voices in making a difference at ORAU and encourages personal leadership regardless of their role, title or position within the company. “My coworkers say I am definitely the glue for our group. We have diverse personalities and different needs, but I help people come together to really listen, understand and learn from each other through team-building and other activities. When we are collaborating, that’s when we can do our best work.” Carmen Jackson Administrative Associate “When I set my mind to something, I will achieve it. While finishing my MBA, I got cancer and had to take time off for chemo. With only two classes left, I dug in and graduated summa cum laude. Because of this, I was asked to speak at our class’s commencement, a huge honor for me after what I’d been through. I bring this same determination to my work at ORAU. No matter the task, I put a lot of value on it, and do it to the best of my ability.” Brittany Vang, Project Manager “I have confidence in my ability to positively impact ORAU and its customers. I take initiative to improve process efficiency, product quality, operational integrity and more. Leaders don’t let fear of failure limit their ability to initiate change.” Zachariah Hubbell, Ph.D. Research Associate “I am trusted and empowered to reach beyond traditional nursing and paramedic roles to lead new Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) education programs for first responders and first receivers in East Tennessee. I have created partnerships and fostered relationships through various regional coalitions that could eventually be replicated and expanded to health care networks nationwide.” Angie Bowen, REAC/TS Nurse/Paramedic “People are always watching for how you will handle things. For me, it’s simple. Do the right thing. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how you handle things after the mistake that can make all the difference. I like my job, I love the people here. It is a different culture at ORAU than you see anywhere else, and I always want to make sure I’m doing the kinds of things that will ensure ORAU is here for a long time.” Doyle Johnson, Property Specialist VOICES OF LEADERSHIP “Culture strongly influences behavior, and behavior is what drives success. To nurture such a culture, we must further unleash the power of our employees’ voices to elevate differing views and encourage positive debate. This is how we will encourage personal leadership throughout ORAU, and this is how we will succeed in the future.” Mae Mosley Director, Employee Relations and Diversity 9
  9. 9. PROFILE In their shoes: Leading with empathy From the moment Dee-Dee James met members of ORAU’s leadership team during her “onboarding” in August 2017, she felt she was among peers rather than a group of supervisors. “I knew they were not untouchable and, if I needed to, I could reach out to them,” she said. “Because of this, I believe if I see a process that can be improved, I can take the lead and launch something to change the work environment.” As a business systems analyst in the Information Technology (IT) Department, James says her personal leadership commitment to ORAU is always to put people first. “I am a born leader because of my unlimited supply of empathy and being accountable for my actions. I put myself in others’ shoes to get a better understanding of their IT needs and the urgency of those needs,” she said. James said this empathy and accountability has simply been a way of life for her. “As a single mother, parenting three children, it is important I have a clear understanding of what my children need,” she said. “I have to empathize and imagine if I were them or when I was their age, why I made decisions the way I did.” So what does being an ORAU leader mean to James? “At the end of the day, being an ORAU leader does not mean I have to hold an executive position or title. I am an ORAU leader because I understand my role, which is to put all people first and provide the best service possible for my organization’s IT needs,” she said. “I treat everyone the same across the board. It does not matter if their position is custodial, director, manager or the CEO. I do this because I want them to understand when they see me, I am just like them. We just have different titles. It’s like I’ve always taught my children: Don’t ever let your situation define your destination; there is nothing you can’t do.” “At the end of the day, being an ORAU leader does not mean I have to hold an executive position or title. I am an ORAU leader because I understand my role, which is to put all people first and provide the best service possible for my organization’s IT needs.” 10
  10. 10. PROFILE Leadership lessons learned in the swimming pool Will Artley and John Ebuna were world- class swimmers, whose respective teams swam against each other at a Southeastern Conference (SEC) meet. Artley was assistant coach for the University of Florida while Ebuna was a member of the University of Tennessee’s “Flying Foursome” relay team. They didn’t know each other during that meet in 1979, but their paths crossed again when both men came to work at ORAU. Today, Artley is a technical writer and editor for projects in health communication and marketing. Ebuna works in information technology. Both men agree that, like swimming, being an ORAU leader requires teamwork and communication. “To win a 4-by-100 relay, you definitely have to communicate and work together with your teammates,” Ebuna said. “It’s the same thing with my team here.” “In the work you do, you realize you’re contributing to a positive outcome for ORAU and the project,” Artley said. “When you’re swimming and winning a race, people don’t realize the 9 or 10 months it took to get there. Some of our projects are like that.” Artley would know. He was Georgia’s Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972; Georgia’s Athlete of the Year in 1972 and an Olympic Trials finalist in 1972 as a high school senior. At the University of Florida, he was a 10-time All American and five-time SEC Champion. He represented the United States abroad on national teams in Venezuela, Trinidad and Jamaica in 1973, and the Netherlands in 1976. As a Masters swimmer, Artley was a three-time national champion in 1991, was a world champion in 1992 and set the Masters world record in the 100-meter freestyle. In 2018, he was inducted into the Georgia Aquatic Hall of Fame. Ebuna was a six-time Colorado High School State Champion from 1973 to 1975; High School All-American in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle in 1975; 17-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) All-American; NCAA National Champion in the 400-yard free relay in 1977 and 1978; NCAA Team Champion in 1978 and SEC 100-yard butterfly champion in 1979. As part of the “Flying Foursome,” he set American records for the 400-meter free relay in 1976 and the 200-yard and 400-yard free relays in 1979. At the World University Games in 1977, he was a champion in the 100-meter freestyle, 400-meter free relay, 800-meter free relay and 400-meter medley relay. Ebuna had the world’s second fastest 100-meter free time in 1978 and was named Colorado High School Coach of the Year in 1985. He has been inducted into the Tennessee and Colorado Swimming Halls of Fame. In business as in sports, “you build a tremendous bond with your teammates,” Ebuna said. Artley and Ebuna know it is that bond and a common purpose, coupled with personal leadership from every team member, that build and sustain successful teams like those they are helping to lead at ORAU. Almost 40 years later, the pool they’re swimming in has changed a lot, but the leadership lessons they learned in the water definitely stand the test of time. Will Artley Technical Writer/Editor John Ebuna Senior IT Analyst 11
  11. 11. Research & University Partnerships Returning to our research roots ORAU is returning to our research roots and working to build a strong research enterprise. In 2018, we established our Strategic Research Agenda. We defined strategic drivers and goals and determined our research focus areas, which mirror the core capabilities of ORAU: worker health/ epidemiology; health physics/radiation protection; atmospheric science/studies; data analytics; health communication, marketing and training capabilities; STEM workforce assessment and evaluation studies; and peer review practice/technology. Programs such as the ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) investment program, now in its third year, and ORAU’s Visiting Faculty Research Program (VFRP) continued to deliver on our mission to strengthen research collaborations with our consortium member universities. These collaborations led to exciting research projects, external funding and joint publications that enhanced the visibility of ORAU researchers. VFRP stories can be found on pages 36 and 50, and highlights of ODRD research projects can be found on the map on page 14 and throughout this report. Looking to 2019, the ORAU research team will develop a centralized process for training and tracking compliance with rules and regulations that govern research; develop a research intranet site with research dashboard and user interface; and prepare an intellectual property plan. Longer term, this team will be working to grow ORAU’s external research portfolio, a five-year goal of $4 million annually in externally funded research grants. “2018 has been an exciting year for research at ORAU. The investment in research infrastructure and focus on external research grants bode well for our research enterprise. We are motivated by the challenge of growing our externally funded research portfolio and look forward to the valuable research collaborations necessary for us to achieve our goals.” Eric Abelquist, Ph.D. Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer “ORAU is energetically building relationships to grow collaborations for research funded by federal agencies, states and businesses. We are excited about the great work we can accomplish when we partner with our member universities.” Arlene Garrison, Ph.D. Vice President, University Partnerships VOICES OF LEADERSHIP 12
  12. 12. Excelling at university partnerships ORAU excels as a matchmaker. We match our corporate capabilities with the research excellence of our consortium member universities to create partnerships that advance and strengthen national priorities in education, science and engineering. ORAU’s assets, including unique laboratories and internationally recognized subject matter experts, complement the research efforts of university faculty and students as they address complex societal problems. At the 2018 Meeting of the ORAU Councilors, participants considered possible solutions for biological threats to global security and the impact on public health. The meeting served as a networking venue and information resource. Also, the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards fund innovative research by young faculty members so that individuals like Assistant Professor Tao Yang of the University of North Texas can advance their careers. Yang, a 2018 Powe award winner, is using his grant to investigate microgrids (see story below). Another example of the power of partnerships is the interactions between ORAU and the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). The ORAU team visited FIT and observed key capabilities and assets. A reciprocal visit identified common interests in risk assessment in relation to incident analysis as well as psychosocial effects of social media restrictions in the workplace. These interests generated collaborative, multidisciplinary projects, resulting in co-written white papers that were submitted to federal agencies. Photo credit: Ranjani Groth, University of North Texas PROFILE Powe awardee researches microgrids as a reliable energy source for communities Every day, Tao Yang, Ph.D., attempts to revolutionize the way communities distribute electricity and overcome power outages at centralized networks. As a possible solution to this challenge, Yang is researching microgrids, which are individualized power distribution centers. As he expands his microgrid, he is developing a paradigm for reliable microgrid operations in which a distributed energy resource (DER) engages with neighboring DERs through an underlying communication network. Yang, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering at the University of North Texas, is one of 36 junior faculty members from ORAU member institutions to receive the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. In 2018, ORAU awarded competitive research grants totaling $180,000. The grant program, initiated in 1991 to advance research and enrich professional growth, has awarded 698 grants totaling more than $3.4 million. Each recipient’s institution matches the ORAU award; hence, ORAU has facilitated grants worth more than $6.9 million. 13
  13. 13. ORAU Consortium Number of member institutions per state ALABAMA AlabamaA&MUniversity-Normal AuburnUniversity-Auburn TuskegeeUniversity-Tuskegee UniversityofAlabama-Tuscaloosa UniversityofAlabamaatBirmingham-Birmingham UniversityofAlabamainHuntsville-Huntsville UniversityofSouthAlabama-Mobile ARIZONA ArizonaStateUniversity-Tempe ARKANSAS ArkansasStateUniversity-Jonesboro* UniversityofArkansas-Fayetteville UniversityofArkansasforMedicalSciences-LittleRock COLORADO ColoradoStateUniversity-FortCollins UniversityofColoradoBoulder-Boulder UniversityofColoradoDenver-Denver CONNECTICUT YaleUniversity-NewHaven DELAWARE UniversityofDelaware-Newark FLORIDA Embry-RiddleAeronauticalUniversity-DaytonaBeach FloridaAtlanticUniversity-BocaRaton FloridaInstituteofTechnology-Melbourne FloridaInternationalUniversity-Miami FloridaStateUniversity-Tallahassee UniversityofCentralFlorida-Orlando UniversityofFlorida-Gainesville UniversityofMiami-Miami UniversityofSouthFlorida-Tampa GEORGIA AugustaUniversity-Augusta ClarkAtlantaUniversity-Atlanta EmoryUniversity-Atlanta GeorgiaInstituteofTechnology-Atlanta GeorgiaStateUniversity-Atlanta MorehouseCollege-Atlanta* SpelmanCollege-Atlanta* UniversityofGeorgia-Athens IDAHO IdahoStateUniversity-Pocatello ILLINOIS IllinoisInstituteofTechnology-Chicago INDIANA IndianaUniversity-Bloomington PurdueUniversity-WestLafayette SouthernIllinoisUniversityatCarbondale-Carbondale UniversityofNotreDame-SouthBend KENTUCKY BereaCollege-Berea* EasternKentuckyUniversity-Richmond* UniversityofKentucky-Lexington UniversityofLouisville-Louisville WesternKentuckyUniversity-BowlingGreen LOUISIANA LouisianaStateUniversity-BatonRouge SouthernUniversityandA&MCollege-BatonRouge TulaneUniversity-NewOrleans UniversityofLouisianaatLafayette-Lafayette UniversityofNewOrleans-NewOrleans MARYLAND JohnsHopkinsUniversity-Baltimore UniversityofMaryland-CollegePark UniversityofMaryland,EasternShore-PrincessAnne* MICHIGAN MichiganStateUniversity-Lansing MichiganTechnologicalUniversity-Houghton OaklandUniversity-Richmond* UniversityofMichigan-AnnArbor WayneStateUniversity-Detroit MISSISSIPPI JacksonStateUniversity-Jackson MississippiStateUniversity-Starkville UniversityofMississippi-Oxford UniversityofSouthernMississippi-Hattiesburg MISSOURI MissouriUniversityofScienceandTechnology-Rolla UniversityofMissouri-Columbia WashingtonUniversityinSt.Louis-St.Louis NEVADA UniversityofNevada,LasVegas-LasVegas UniversityofNevada,Reno-Reno 14
  14. 14. 122 Sponsoring Institutions NEW JERSEY RutgersUniversity-NewBrunswick NEW MEXICO NewMexicoStateUniversity-LasCruces UniversityofNewMexico-Albuquerque NEW YORK TheCityCollegeofNewYork-NewYork SyracuseUniversity-Syracuse UniversityatAlbany-Albany NORTH CAROLINA AppalachianStateUniversity-Boone* DukeUniversity-Durham EastCarolinaUniversity-Greenville FayettevilleStateUniversity-Fayetteville* JohnsonC.SmithUniversity-Charlotte* NorthCarolinaA&TStateUniversity-Greensboro NorthCarolinaStateUniversity-Raleigh UniversityofNorthCarolinaatChapelHill-ChapelHill UniversityofNorthCarolinaatCharlotte-Charlotte WakeForestUniversity-Winston-Salem WesternCarolinaUniversity-Cullowhee* OHIO TheOhioStateUniversity-Columbus OhioUniversity-Athens UniversityofCincinnati-Cincinnati UniversityofToledo-Toledo OKLAHOMA OklahomaStateUniversity-Stillwater UniversityofOklahoma -Norman UniversityofOklahoma HealthSciencesCenter-OklahomaCity UniversityofTulsa-Tulsa OREGON OregonStateUniversity-Corvallis PENNSYLVANIA CarnegieMellonUniversity-Pittsburgh JeffersonUniversity-Philadelphia* LehighUniversity-Bethlehem PennStateUniversity-StateCollege TempleUniversity-Philadelphia UniversityofPittsburgh-Pittsburgh VillanovaUniversity-Philadelphia* SOUTH CAROLINA ClemsonUniversity-Clemson CollegeofCharleston-Charleston* SouthCarolinaStateUniversity-Orangeburg* UniversityofSouthCarolina-Columbia TENNESSEE EastTennesseeStateUniversity-JohnsonCity LincolnMemorialUniversity-Harrogate* MaryvilleCollege-Maryville* MeharryMedicalCollege-Nashville MiddleTennesseeStateUniversity-Murfreesboro TennesseeStateUniversity-Nashville TennesseeTechnologicalUniversity-Cookeville UniversityofMemphis-Memphis UniversityofTennessee -Knoxville UniversityofTennesseeatChattanooga-Chattanooga UniversityofTennesseeHealthScienceCenter-Memphis VanderbiltUniversity-Nashville TEXAS RiceUniversity-Houston SouthernMethodistUniversity-Dallas TexasA&MUniversity-CollegeStation TexasChristianUniversity-FortWorth TexasTechUniversity-Lubbock UniversityofHouston-Houston UniversityofNorthTexas-Denton UniversityofTexasatArlington-Arlington UniversityofTexasatAustin-Austin UniversityofTexasatDallas-Dallas UniversityofTexasatSanAntonio-SanAntonio UniversityofTexasRioGrandeValley-Edinburg* UTAH UniversityofUtah-SaltLakeCity UtahStateUniversity-Logan VIRGINIA CollegeofWilliam&Mary-Williamsburg GeorgeMasonUniversity-Fairfax NorfolkStateUniversity-Norfolk* UniversityofVirginia-Charlottesville VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity-Richmond VirginiaTech-Blacksburg WASHINGTON, D.C. CatholicUniversityofAmerica GeorgeWashingtonUniversity GeorgetownUniversity HowardUniversity UniversityoftheDistrictofColumbia* WEST VIRGINIA WestVirginiaUniversity-Morgantown WISCONSIN UniversityofWisconsin-Madison-Madison * Associate Member ORAU-Directed Research and Development Program One of the most important benefits of ORAU’s consortium membership for universities is the potential for member institutions to receive funding through the ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) program. Check out some of our collaboration efforts in the following ODRD Research Briefs: First-of-its-kind study assesses beryllium workers’ health in the nearly 20 years since the passing of DOE protective legislation, University of Colorado, Denver, page 37 Can smartphones serve as tools to measure potential radiation exposures? Oklahoma State University, page 44 Social media: Helping or hindering vaccination rates? University of Georgia, page 44 Can a machine accurately predict whether a social media user is gullible to “fake news”? Penn State University, page 45 Can analyzing data differently help predict and avoid collisions in the aviation industry? Florida Institute of Technology, page 53 15
  15. 15. Photo credit: BNL Summer of discovery: Touring diverse labs, understanding common needs In an effort to expand customers’ understanding of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), ORISE Director Jim Vosburg and his staff packed their bags and spent part of last summer on the road and in the air, visiting some of the unique national laboratories that make up the Department of Energy’s (DOE) science and energy enterprise. The team’s itinerary included stops at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) located on New York’s Long Island, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. While visiting the Richland area, they also met with key federal leadership from DOE’s Richland Operations Office, the Pacific Northwest Site Office, DOE’s Office of River Protection, and the Volpentest Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response Federal Training Center. “From one end of the country to another, it was impressive to see the many ways in which DOE’s laboratories continue to redefine the boundaries of fundamental science and technology,” said Vosburg. At NETL, ORISE participants and their mentors provided high-level overviews of research projects. “The knowledge and advanced skill sets they demonstrated were extremely impressive, and it was clear to me that each mentor-participant duo had developed strong partnerships as a result of their experiences,” he said. While in New York, BNL’s expertise in high-energy VOICES OF LEADERSHIP “It was impressive to see the many ways DOE’s labs continue to redefine the boundaries of fundamental science and technology. Through its diverse set of capabilities,ORISEisuniquelypositionedtohelpDOE laboratories address major national challenges.” Jim Vosburg, Ed.D. Senior Vice President and Director of ORISE 16
  16. 16. physics was on full display when the team toured the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider’s (RHIC) STAR Detector (pictured left). As big as a house and weighing more than 1,200 tons, the STAR Detector tracks the thousands of particles produced by each ion collision at RHIC. More than 2,000 miles away at PNNL, Vosburg and his staff learned about the lab’s Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center and the ways in which it brings together industry software, real-time data and advanced computation to strengthen the security of our nation’s electrical grid. “There were some recurring themes that we heard along the way,” he said. “Most everyone was struggling to recruit and retain high-caliber scientific and technical talent. Competition with the private sector is fierce, and recruiters need more effective ways of attracting a more diverse, representative workforce. The labs also placed great emphasis on worker protections. From research to legacy cleanup, protecting the health and safety of workers is paramount.” Newrelationshipsandopportunitiesfor collaboration will enable both ORISE and its laboratory partners to better advance the nation’s competitiveness. All of the labs were focused on executing DOE’s science and energy missions. “During each visit, we emphasized that, through its diverse set of capabilities, ORISE is uniquely positioned to help DOE laboratories address major national challenges through science,” he said. The ORISE team will continue with ORISE laboratory outreach in FY19 with the goal of establishing more meaningful, personal connections across the DOE enterprise. Ultimately, the new relationships and opportunities for collaboration will enable both ORISE and its laboratory partners to better advance the nation’s competitiveness. Research Brief: An exploratory study on how to build a better peer reviewer Recent research has focused on how the use of technology in conducting peer reviews affects review outcomes. Can technology also make peer reviewers themselves better at what they do? In 2018, a group of ORISE researchers—Miriam L. E. Steiner Davis, Ph.D., T. Reneau Conner, Ph.D., and Leslie Shapard, Ph.D.—sought to answer this question by conducting an inquiry about “Technology and Peer Review Panel Skills.” This exploratory study examined how the use of technology in conducting panel reviews for research-funding agencies affects the development and improvement of skills needed by effective reviewers. ORISE researchers considered two specific review formats: in-person and virtual video conference. After interviewing program officers and expert reviewers, they found that most high-quality reviewers possessed common skills, such as subject matter expertise, broad scientific understanding and communication skills. Researchers also explored the relationship between skill development, review format and technology. Interview responses formed the basis of a quantitative survey. The results identified three additional panel review skills. Researchers found that 1) modeling competencies improves panelists’ skills more than peer review guidance and training; 2) general academic training improves panelists’ competencies the least of all experiences measured; and 3) being the chair/running a panel improves skills more than any other experience measured. In the final report, ORISE researchers recommended more analysis on reviewer skills and informational needs in relation to peer review software and processes and development of training that focuses on important panel skills. 17
  17. 17. PROFILE Shaping the progress of science: Data sharing in the Persian Gulf “I always wanted to travel overseas. When I finished my master’s degree, an opportunity came up,” recalled Jim Malone, Ph.D., ORAU section manager for research services. Malone served as library director at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in 2007, then worked for the library at Weill Cornell Medicine— Qatar in 2009. Through these positions, Malone made contacts with scientists around the world who needed data for their research. He never realized these foreign connections would lead to others later in his career as well as a research project for his doctoral degree. These experiences in the Middle East and Central Asia give Malone rare expertise. His knowledge of data sharing serves Malone well at ORAU as he and his peer review team interact globally with scientists for review of research proposals to support funding decisions. His deep interest in data sharing by the scientific community drove his own doctoral dissertation research project: “Data Sharing Practices and Attitudes of Scientists in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).” The GCC, a political and economic alliance, is made up of Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Malone examined the ways these Persian Gulf researchers make available their research data. He administered an online survey and, in early 2018, spent a month in Qatar conducting face-to-face interviews with individual researchers from the GCC countries. He gained access to them mainly because of personal and professional connections developed over the years. “Culturally, personal connections are very important in the Middle East. Scientists granted interviews mostly if they knew someone I knew, a mutual connection,” Malone said. “It made a difference that I had lived there and understood the culture. It helped ‘break the ice’ and generate more interviews.” According to his findings, the GCC countries are in the early stages of scientific data sharing. They have not developed extensive policies or protocols that are common in the United States and many other countries, such as how data will be stored or shared for others’ use after a research project is complete. ForGCCcountries,improvementsindata sharingwillbebeneficialforresearch collaborationswithinthebroaderMiddleEast regionandwithcountriesaroundtheworld. In his dissertation, Malone’s recommendations for improvement include encouraging university and research organizations to require data management plans with all funded research. He also recommends training of researchers on the benefits of data sharing and investing in a cyberinfrastructure to facilitate data sharing among scientists. For GCC countries, improvements in data sharing will be beneficial for research collaborations within the broader Middle East region and with countries around the world. For Malone, this experience allows him to interact in a more knowledgeable way with all scientists and researchers who view research data sharing as a way to invest in and shape the progress of science. 18
  18. 18. Supporting pediatric cancer research in Florida through Bella’s gift In May 2013, the beautiful life of Bella Rodriguez- Torres ended after a six-year fight against pediatric cancer, but in this ending, the Live Like Bella® movement began. Five years later, Live Like Bella is now a multimillion dollar childhood cancer foundation and research grant initiative. After Bella was diagnosed with stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma at age 4, her parents, Shannah and Raymond Rodriguez-Torres, began raising funding for research. From community bake sales to authoring the novel Why Not Me? A True Story about a Miracle in Miami, Bella’s family wasted no time in their fundraising efforts to support Bella as well as other children living with cancer. Bella remained by her parents’ side in their fundraising mission, even organizing a Band-Aid Drive and donating funds raised from her birthday party—a selfless gift—shortly before she passed away at age 10. In the midst of their devastation, her parents were more determined than ever to help find a cure for childhood cancer, and so the Live Like Bella Foundation was born. They made it a foundation priority to partner with more than a dozen researchers and institutions that continue to make strides toward treating and curing this disease. The State of Florida recognized the foundation’s drive in its research mission by creating and funding the Live Like Bella Pediatric Cancer Research Grant Initiative in 2017. Through this state research grant, the Florida Department of Health has awarded more than $5 million in the past two years to research that focuses exclusively on childhood cancer. The Florida Department of Health turned to ORAU to help in quickly getting this new research grant initiative off the ground. Janet Kile, ORAU peer review program manager, eagerly accepted the sudden rush of new work, touched by Bella and her family’s story. Live Like Bella is now one of four biomedical peer review programs managed by ORAU, yet it stands as the only program that focuses on pediatric cancer research, Kile’s favorite part of the program. “I am passionate about what we do because of the real-life results of the funded research. This program is especially important because of the focus on children,” Kile said. In Live Like Bella’s first year as a research grant initiative, the Florida Department of Health awarded five research grants totaling $2 million. Funding for 2018 was increased to $3 million. While the fight continues, researchers, peer review experts, legislators and everyone involved with this initiative are reminded to spend each day living like Bella. VOICES OF LEADERSHIP “I am passionate about what we do because of the real-life results of the funded research. This program is especially important because of the focus on children.” Janet Kile ORAU Peer Review Program Manager 19
  19. 19. PERSPECTIVE Building on-ramps to a STEM-capable U.S. workforce “A STEM-capable workforce provides the U.S. with an enduring competitive advantage… As a nation, we must work together to ensure all segments of our population have access to affordable, high-quality education and training opportunities beginning as early as kindergarten and lasting well beyond graduation. Today’s workers need ‘on-ramps’ to develop the STEM expertise and other critical capabilities so they can adapt and thrive.” —“Our Nation’s Future Competitiveness Relies on Building a STEM-Capable U.S. Workforce,” A Policy Companion Statement to Science and Engineering Indicators 2018, National Science Board The need for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-capable workforce has increased dramatically in recent years. According to the National Science Board, the number of U.S. jobs that require substantial STEM education has grown by nearly 34 percent in the last decade. More jobs than ever require at least a bachelor’s degree-level of STEM knowledge and experience, and millions of technical jobs need people who have STEM knowledge with or without a degree. Building the on-ramps to STEM careers is integral to ORAU’s mission and has been since our founding 72 years ago. ORAU has provided robust workforce development solutions for national laboratories and federal agencies that take a cradle-to-grave approach to developing well-educated and experienced STEM workers. We host K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12) summer education programs for students and professional development for educators. We also offer 20
  20. 20. a diverse catalog of mentored research experiences and recruit the best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students, all levels of recent graduates, postdoctorates and faculty from around the globe. ORAU is collecting data on and evaluating our workforce development programs for continuous improvement and to measure their effectiveness in retaining participants in STEM-related careers. We are also researching and identifying trends in the STEM labor market. “Our ORISE and ORAU customers, primarily government agencies, understand that we are focused on growing their STEM workforces, and we do many things to try to make that happen,” said Leigh Ann Pennington, ORAU labor economist. Much of our STEM expertise is leveraged through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), a Department of Energy (DOE) asset “Our ORISE and ORAU customers, primarily government agencies, understand that we are focused on growing their STEM workforces, and we do many things to try to make that happen.” Leigh Ann Pennington ORAU Labor Economist managed by ORAU. It aligns well with priorities and objectives of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education, or Co- STEM. Co-STEM, a multiagency committee dedicated to improving STEM education to strengthen the federal STEM workforce, published a five-year strategic plan in 2013 (with new goals released in December 2018). VOICES OF LEADERSHIP “We can clearly show programs are progressing the way the federal government needs them to progress. With retention rates of 80 percent for NETL and 96 percent for ORNL, if all of them are 80 percent or above, then we’re starting to normalize STEM retention. That’s a heck of a story.” Craig Layman, Ed.D. ORISE Associate Director for Workforce Development 21
  21. 21. With long-standing and robust STEM capabilities, ORAU and ORISE have led the way in meeting the following Co-STEM objectives: • K-12 teacher education – Recruit 100,000 new K-12 STEM teachers by 2020 and support existing STEM teacher workforce. • Undergraduate education – Graduate one million additional students with degrees in STEM fields over a decade. • Graduate education – Provide basic research expertise, professional development and specialized skills development to graduate trained STEM professionals. • Broadening participation – Increase the number of underrepresented minorities graduating in STEM and improve women’s participation where they are underrepresented. • Public engagement – Support a 50 percent increase in the number of youth who have authentic STEM experiences each year. • Coordination objectives – Build new models for leveraging assets and expertise; build and use evidence-based approaches. K-12 teacher education It’s not uncommon on a June morning to find STEM educators from across the region inside ORAU’s STEM education classroom. They may be discovering the functionality of virtual reality headsets, programming robotic devices or using forensic laboratory techniques to solve a mock crime. These are just some of the many ORAU professional development sessions offered free to educators to help them learn or hone STEM education techniques. “One of the great things about being in K-12 is we get to be the start of the on-ramp,” said Jennifer Tyrell, ORISE education program manager. “Students are naturally curious. They’re interested in science. They “One of the great things about being in K-12 is we get to be the start of the on- ramp. Students are naturally curious... If they don’t get these authentic experiences with science in elementary school, they can lose their love of STEM. So it’s vital that we have teachers who ... create programs in their classrooms that help students maintain their natural interest in STEM and continue on to become our future workforce.” Jennifer Tyrell ORISE Education Program Manager 22
  22. 22. were born scientists. If they don’t get these authentic experiences with science in elementary school, they can lose their love of STEM. So it’s vital that we have teachers who have content knowledge and pedagogy to create programs in their classrooms that help students maintain their natural interest in STEM and continue on to become our future workforce.” Jill Schwan, a teacher at Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee, was a participant in one of the virtual reality sessions. She believes learning new teaching techniques keeps her skills current and sets her students up to be innovators themselves. “We’re teaching tomorrow’s problem solvers today,” she said. “If we’re not thinking today in that forward motion, how are we going to get our kids to do that? This is a great way to do that. Showing them cutting-edge technology, but then giving them that little nugget to say, ‘hey, where can you take this?’” Summer educator professional development programs are only part of the story. ORISE provides access to a growing library of lesson plan materials on a wide array of STEM subjects, as well as lesson plan competitions with classroom technology as prizes, as a means of growing that library. ORAU sponsors annually the Extreme Classroom Makeover, which awards $25,000 in classroom technology to a local teacher whose video most deftly captures the need for that technology. (see story on page 58.) There are also monthly #ExtremeTeacher giveaways on Facebook, where teachers can win items like 3D printers and Chromebooks for their classrooms. “While we can offer great experiences in a lot of our programs that change people’s lives, teachers are with students every single day. If we can educate teachers, give them the tools they need, teach them how to get students excited about STEM and expose them to the sort of careers they’re prepping students for, then we can really make a difference in students’ lives,” Tyrell said. Undergraduate and graduate education For students, recent graduates, postdoctoral researchers and faculty members seeking to enhance their STEM education, ORAU and ORISE administer a variety of short-term and long-term research experiences at national laboratories and other federal research facilities across the country. (see Profiles in Academic & Career Development on page 28.) Program participants gain the UndergraduateStudent1,427 GraduateStudent1,378 PostdoctoralFellow1,642 University/CollegeFaculty184 OtherScientists288 PrecollegeStudent1,525 PrecollegeTeacher822 TotalAppointments10,106 RecentM.S./B.S./A.S.Graduate2,840 FY18 Appointments by Category AcademicStatus Numberof Appointments 23
  23. 23. opportunity to explore their chosen STEM field with real-world, hands-on research experiences, while also networking with their mentors and fellow participants. “Once students get to the university level, we need to ensure that they matriculate through their STEM programs, and we produce someone who is going to be eligible and able for the workforce,” said Craig Layman, Ed.D., ORISE associate director for workforce development. “Part of doing that is found in the cocurricular activities that we operate through our internships and authentic research experience programs.” Participants can gain authentic research experiences at federal government research facilities and programs around the country as follows: • At Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, students may participate in research involving supercomputers, biofuels, nuclear medicine and other fields. • The National Forensics Undergraduate Summer School in Utah and Tennessee is a nuclear forensics program offered by the Department of Homeland Security. • DOE’s Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internships give students research experiences on STEM-related projects at DOE laboratories across the country. • The Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program prepares graduate students for careers that are critically important to DOE’s mission. Many more opportunities are available, but there is a big difference between research experiences offered through ORAU and ORISE and an average internship or fellowship. “Our experiences are authentic research experiences that are mentored by scientists or engineers who are highly respected in their field,” Layman said. “That makes our experiences different from what someone else would offer. By their nature, these are highly technical experiences. Whether you’re going through the process of scientific research or scientific discovery or you’re coding or programming using one of the world’s fastest supercomputers at DOE, our experiences are unique because they are completely guided by a mentor, and in many cases participants are members of interdisciplinary teams. That’s something that can’t be said about all research experiences.” Another advantage for participants is Zintellect, ORAU’s proprietary online portal listing hundreds of internships, experiential learning opportunities, academic fellowships and scholarships available from government agencies and private sector organizations around the country. “What Zintellect offers is a one-stop place to look at what the needs are now for the agencies and the economy in general,” said Don Johnson, Ph.D., ORAU senior economist for workforce studies. Participants can apply for opportunities that meet their individual educational needs, but they can also 24
  24. 24. “Diversity means so much more these days than the traditional definitions. Today, diversity also includes income diversity and thought diversity. There are a lot of urban-rural dichotomies in our economy. Rural areas, in particular, benefit greatly when young people are exposed to STEM subjects.” Don Johnson, Ph.D. ORAU Senior Economist for Workforce Studies get an idea of where science is headed and how they might want to adjust for that. “When you look at the opportunities, they aren’t just general in nature, they’re focused in these areas of need that the hosting agencies in science are recruiting for today,” Johnson said. “It’s a valuable source of information to prospective students about what to major in and how to go about that.” Broadening participation Taken as a whole, science has a diversity problem. The numbers of women and members of underrepresented populations continue to increase, which is certainly a good thing. However, diversity is more than one’s appearance. “Diversity means so much more these days than the traditional definitions,” Johnson said. “Today, diversity also includes income diversity and thought diversity. There are a lot of urban-rural dichotomies in our economy. Rural areas, in particular, benefit greatly when young people are exposed to STEM subjects. Rural areas tend to have lower per capita income levels, and they also tend to have lower entrepreneurship rates. The evidence suggests that latent entrepreneurship can be encouraged with the type of programs being discussed on the K-12 level.” Giving K-12 students the opportunity to meet scientists is a big step toward overcoming some of the diversity issues. “For many children in underrepresented populations, STEM can seem like a field that is not for them because they don’t see themselves in it,” Tyrell said. “So one of our initiatives is to provide them with exposure to females in STEM and minorities in STEM so they can see those people and think ‘They look like me, maybe I can do that!’” ORAU has recorded videos of scientists sharing their background with students, including where they came from, the path they took to get where they are, what they love about their work and the future challenges for their careers. These videos, called STEM Stories, show students that there are people who look and sound like they do, who grew up like they did, and they’re working in science. These stories can be found at www.orau.org. Erin Webb, Ph.D., an agricultural engineer and research and development senior staff member at ORNL, grew up in Union County, Tennessee, which is a rural county with a 2017 population estimate of less than 20,000 people. “I was very fortunate to have some amazing opportunities. I was very active in 4-H, and I had some really awesome teachers along the way,” she said. Webb really liked biology, and she liked solving puzzles. A teacher encouraged her to pursue a career in engineering. “I ended up majoring in agricultural engineering, which is a great combination of my interest in biology, my rural background, my experience on a farm and engineering,” Webb said (see story on page 29). Another way the U.S. scientific workforce is diversifying is by attracting research participants from around the world. “Science is global in nature. Many of the participants we have are from other countries,” said Erin Burr, Ph.D., senior evaluator and assessment and evaluation section manager. “The best people in their field, especially in faculty positions, may not come from our country. They could come from the United States, but they could also come from any number of places.” When participants have the opportunity to interact with people from other countries, many of whom may be among the best scientific minds in the world, “that’s something that can change somebody’s life experience and motivate them in a way you might not get in your home institution,” Burr said. Public engagement Our K-12 outreach activities are the very first on-ramp in workforce development, giving students critical, authentic STEM experiences designed to engage them in STEM subjects. “We want to create lifelong learners because the jobs that exist today are not going to be the jobs these kids are going to be doing,” said Marie Westfall, section 25
  25. 25. manager for education outreach. “You have to create the problem solvers; you have to create the learners.” ORAU and ORISE summer programming for students includes Math and Movement mini academies, Oak Ridge Robotics Academy and Forensic Chemistry Academy, all of which are classroom experiences that occur over several days. The ORAU-ORNL-Appalachian Regional Commission Math-Science-Technology Institute is a two-week residential program attended by students and teachers from throughout the Appalachian states who are nominated by their respective governors and work side-by-side with researchers at ORNL. The Joint Summer Technology Institute is a residential program that takes places in Edgewood, Maryland, where high school and middle school students and instructors from around the world participate in STEM projects mentored by Department of Defense researchers. The Tennessee Science Bowl pits teams of high school students from across the state against each other to determine which team advances to the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. Additionally, ORISE hosts contests where students can win STEM-related items, such as drones and 3D printers. “One of the things students get out of our programs is self-confidence in STEM,” Tyrell said. She explained that the ORAU Evaluations Team helped develop a survey tool to measure students’ self-reported critical thinking, self-efficacy and meta-cognition skills. “Going through a summer program, they increase in all of those areas year after year. For four years, we’ve collected these data and seen that students have more self-confidence in STEM. With more self-confidence, they’re willing to tackle more STEM experiences. They’re willing to seek those things out and hopefully apply for STEM majors in college.” Coordination objectives Evaluation is crucial to ORAU workforce development, especially in measuring the impact that research participation programs at national laboratories and other federal research facilities have on keeping participants in STEM careers. “The limited evidence that exists, and we’re still collecting it, shows that being a participant in one of these programs roughly doubles the probability that the individual will work in a science or engineering occupation,” Johnson said. “That is just an amazing statistic.” “A longitudinal survey of ORNL participants shows particular success,” Burr said. The survey evaluated 26
  26. 26. “ORISE helps ORNL identify bright, inquisitive individuals to participate in research experiences with our staff. It is a testament to ORISE’s decades of experience and their ability to connect the right individuals with the right experiences that the vast majority of those individuals remain in science and technology careers, helping ensure the nation has the resources it needs to sustain and advance science and to drive its economic future.” Thomas Zacharia, Ph.D. ORNL Director alumni who completed their research experience between October 2011 and September 2013. “Ninety-six percent of the respondents to our survey were retained in STEM fields. That’s a huge number, and it shows that, compared to a national comparison group, we’re keeping people in the pipeline,” she said. “ORISE helps ORNL identify bright, inquisitive individuals to participate in research experiences with our staff. It is a testament to ORISE’s decades of experience and their ability to connect the right individuals with the right experiences that the vast majority of those individuals remain in science and technology careers, helping ensure the nation has the resources it needs to sustain and advance science and to drive its economic future,” said Thomas Zacharia, Ph.D., director of ORNL. Longitudinal surveys have been conducted for other programs as well, including those for the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), which saw 80 percent of research program alumni remaining in STEM fields. This level of success isn’t limited to just one type of research experience program. “We have undergraduate programs, master’s level, doctoral level, postdoctoral level, faculty—all of the different parts of the spectrum. Really, across the diversity of content levels, education levels and sponsors, we’re seeing the same kinds of findings,” Burr said. “This shows that the model of these mentored research experiences leads to retention in the STEM workforce, with many of the participants working with the agencies they had appointments with previously.” The Co-STEM goals for the next five years were released in December 2018. The three goals “provide guidance for federal agencies in prioritizing their investments and collaboration activities and can serve as a framework for the national stakeholder community to contribute to this strategy’s success,” according to the report titled, “Charting a Course for Success: A Federal Strategy for STEM Education.” The goals are as follows: build strong foundations for STEM literacy; increase diversity and inclusion in STEM; and prepare the STEM workforce for the future. Layman believes ORAU and ORISE are poised to continue to meet and exceed the expectations of the federal agencies that rely on our services. STEM is a big part of who we have been for 72 years, and we have the results to demonstrate our effectiveness. “We can clearly show programs are progressing the way the federal government needs them to progress,” he said. “With retention rates of 80 percent for NETL and 96 percent for ORNL, if all of them are 80 percent or above, then we’re starting to normalize STEM retention. That’s a heck of a story.” Erin Burr, Ph.D. ORAUSeniorEvaluator and Assessment and Evaluation Section Manager Don Johnson, Ph.D. ORAU Senior Economist for Workforce Studies Leigh Ann Pennington ORAU Labor Economist Jennifer Tyrell ORISE Education Program Manager Marie Westfall ORAU Section Manager for Education Outreach 27
  27. 27. Profiles in Academic & Career Development Abbygail Ochs Berry College Abbygail Ochs packed two weeks’ worth of food and other supplies and boarded a flight to Nome, Alaska. She joined the ranks of researchers who travel to remote locations to better understand isolated environments. The environmental science major contributed to the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments in Arctic project as a participant in the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Ochs sorted and analyzed plant and soil samples in the lab before traveling to the wilds of Alaska. Her fieldwork involved linking aboveground plant traits to belowground plant traits, specifically at the Kougarok Site, located in the heart of the Seward Peninsula. Her research focused on the keystone species commonly known as alder. The team examined alder’s ability to impact nutrient availability in the surrounding ecosystem. Ochs returned to school to complete her undergraduate degree, and she plans to pursue a graduate degree. “The SULI program is such an incredible opportunity for growth as a student and a person,” Ochs said. “I have learned to always have an inquisitive attitude. Also, I have learned to surround myself with people who challenge me as a person and a future scientist.” Aditya Tiwari University of Southern California After graduating with a master’s degree in petroleum engineering, Aditya Tiwari applied to conduct research at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in the Postgraduate Research Program, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). He contributed to multiple projects at the facility in Albany, Oregon. “As a result of my ORISE experience, I developed a technical skill set and the confidence to make decisions,” Tiwari said. “Researching at NETL helped me understand the intricacies of collaborating in a professional environment.” Tiwari’s research experiences allowed him to grow within his field of science while collaborating with recognized research leaders. He presented his research at the Offshore Technical Conference, an event where he interacted with key professionals in the oil and gas industry. These combined experiences helped prepare him for a position as petroleum engineer, managing operations in Texas and California with Pioneer Exploration, LLC. 28
  28. 28. Photo credit: ORNL Erin Webb, Ph.D. University of Florida Several years ago, Erin Webb, Ph.D., participated in the Appalachian Regional Commission/Oak Ridge National Laboratory High School Math-Science-Technology Institute. The two-week honors academy made a science career seem possible. Webb went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering at the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree in biosystems and agricultural engineering from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering from the University of Florida. Now Webb is a senior research and development staff member at ORNL. She mentors research participants in programs administered by ORISE. “Mentoring students is not only important for my project work, but also for my own career development,” Webb said. “Students bring energy and new ideas to my research team. Mentoring gives me an opportunity to build my leadership and management skills.” Justine N’Gozan University of Texas at Arlington Justine N’Gozan, a mathematics doctoral student and participant in the National Science Foundation’s Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, conducted research that could help scientists and engineers interpret the decisions of complex machine-learning models. Xiaofei Wang, Ph.D. Tennessee State University Xiaofei Wang, Ph.D., researched methods to improve detection of radiation damage to cells. Professor Wang participated in ORNL’s summer research program for faculty of historically black colleges and universities and other minority educational institutions. The experience allowed Wang to diversify his research portfolio and make professional connections. Allison Fleshman, Ph.D., and Nicolette Puskar Lawrence University Faculty/student team Allison Fleshman, Ph.D., at left, and Nicolette Puskar contributed to chemistry and materials science research in ORNL’s Visiting Faculty Program. “I work at a small liberal arts college, and while my colleagues are brilliant in their respective fields, our fields don’t overlap often,” Fleshman said. “It is difficult to stay engaged in research when you are an island. ORNL is the oasis of research for a faculty member from a smaller research setting.” Adam Richard Texas State University Adam Richard engaged with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law enforcement agencies to identify and analyze unidentified human remains as part of the FBI’s Visiting Scientist Program. Richard’s research involved evaluating the accuracy of a software program that creates automated facial approximations of remains. “If you have a passion for forensics and are looking to flex your intellectual curiosity, I can think of no better place to do it. Plus, the bonds you develop with your fellow visiting scientists will last a lifetime. I now have friends in every forensic discipline,” he said. PROFILES 29
  29. 29. PERSPECTIVE Bridging the gaps to Total Exposure Health through exposure science, unique laboratory testing and lifelong health surveillance The next frontier in disease prevention is to understand the relationship between lifetime exposure to environmental and workplace agents, individual genetic susceptibility and the application of precise measures of preventive medicine. This exciting advancement is possible because of recent developments in genomics, toxicology, epidemiology and exposure science. The concept, called Total Exposure Health, requires unprecedented collaboration among subject matter experts in all of these fields. 30
  30. 30. The end game—and practical application of this new knowledge—is the ability of health care providers and individuals to make informed decisions about health risks based on predictive analytics. “Through exposure science, unique laboratory testing and lifelong health surveillance capabilities, ORAU’s experts are collaborating with our customers and partners to help bridge the gaps in identifying and addressing individuals’ total exposure health,” said Donna Cragle, Ph.D., ORAU senior vice president for health, energy and environment. Total Exposure Health is a relatively new concept coined by the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General’s Office. It gained increasing traction because experts recognize that it binds together multiple disciplines in a common effort to advance disease prevention and human health. Enabling this collaboration are the development of rapid and inexpensive methods for genetic testing, expansion of electronic health records and the ability to analyze massive amounts of data. The universe of exposure to chemical, biological, physical and radiological agents is often referred to as the “exposome”. “Understanding the impact of environmental exposures on health outcomes requires knowledge of all exposure from womb to end of life—a daunting assignment,” said ORAU Biostatistician Ashley Golden, Ph.D. There are large-scale programs conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other TOTAL EXPOSURE HEALTH The evaluation of an individual’s workplace exposures, as well as lifestyle, environmental and other exposures, so that the total health and well-being of that person can be more positively impacted through integrated health protection and promotion initiatives. agencies that perform biomonitoring to assess exposure to select environmental chemicals. While these institutions are studying prenatal and childhood exposures, ORAU is leading the way in understanding exposures that occur during a person’s working lifetime and how those contribute to the exposome. Understanding occupational exposure during the working years, roughly from ages 18 to 65, is critical to the concept of Total Exposure Health. “Without a quantitative estimate of occupational exposure levels, we would not be able to establish safe exposure limits that drive engineering controls in hazardous workplaces,” said Jeffrey Miller, Ph.D., senior scientist and head of ORAU’s Center for Safety Studies. For more than 30 years, ORAU staff have been supporting the radiation registries for all monitored workers within the Department of Energy (DOE) enterprise VOICES OF LEADERSHIP “Through exposure science, unique laboratory testing and lifelong health surveillance capabilities, ORAU’s experts are collaborating with our customers and partners to help bridge the gaps in identifying and addressing individuals’ total exposure health.” Donna Cragle, Ph.D. ORAU Senior Vice President for Health, Energy and Environment 31
  31. 31. For more than 30 years, ORAU staff have been supporting the radiation registries for all monitored workers within the DOE enterprise and NRC regulatedfacilities—containingmore than 12 million exposure records. and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulated facilities—containing more than 12 million exposure records. These data are analyzed, tracked and trended to enable the assessment of the majority of workers exposed to occupational radiation in the nuclear industry. In addition, for the past 15 years, ORAU has led the Radiological Dose Reconstruction Project for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Scientists from ORAU and partner organizations calculate radiological doses based on historical exposure records to determine if cancer cases are likely associated with past exposure at work. New relationships between gene variants and disease are being discovered every day. “Widespread, low-cost genetic testing is helping us understand the human genome and the associations with exposure and health outcome,” said Adayabalam Balajee, Ph.D., technical director of the ORISE REAC/TS Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory. ORAU manages two premier laboratories that help define the role of genetics and health prediction. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory, which is managed by the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS), is one of only two labs in the United States that can test DNA samples and estimate radiation dose based on the number of broken DNA strands. The ORISE Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Testing Laboratory is the premier site for testing of blood samples to determine if individuals exposed to beryllium have become sensitized to the toxic metal and thus more susceptible to chronic beryllium disease. “ORAU has built years of extensive knowledge in the study of radiation and beryllium exposures and their impacts on human health,” said Betsy Ellis, Ph.D., ORAU epidemiologist and health, energy and environment group manager. “We are the For the past 15 years, ORAU has led the NIOSH Radiological Dose Reconstruction Project. 32
  32. 32. ORAU manages two premier laboratories that help define the role of genetics and health prediction: ORISE REAC/TS Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory and ORISE Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Testing Laboratory. experts on the occupational epidemiologic effects of these contaminants.” Identifying adverse health outcomes, their distribution in the population and the factors that determine their occurrence requires collaboration between medical providers and epidemiologists. Since its inception, ORAU has led the way in disease surveillance and occupational epidemiology. One such program is the National Supplemental Screening Program. ORAU and partners provide medical screening exams for nearly ORAU and partners provide medical screening exams for nearly 20,000 former DOE workers across the United States through DOE’s National Supplemental Screening Program. 20,000 former DOE workers across the United States and help them and their health care providers identify occupational and non-occupational health outcomes that require medical treatment. “This program helps fill the data gap on what health outcomes occur after a person retires from work, both those that are occupationally and non-occupationally related,” said Wendy Benade ORAU manager of health studies administration. ORAU’s subject matter experts continue to provide thought leadership on Total Exposure Health and apply that knowledge through the multiple programs we manage and laboratory facilities we operate. These advancements are helping define the future of exposure science, genomics and precision medicine and shaping the transition from population-based disease prevention to personalized medicine. Adayabalam Balajee, Ph.D. Technical Director, ORISE REAC/TS Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory Wendy Benade ORAU Manager of Health Studies Administration Betsy Ellis, Ph.D. ORAU Epidemiologist and Group Manager Ashley Golden, Ph.D. ORAU Biostatistician Jeffrey Miller, Ph.D. Senior Scientist and Head of ORAU’s Center for Safety Studies 33
  33. 33. Jeff Miller: Leading organizational change in safety and security culture What do the Space Shuttle Challenger crash, the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the Fukushima Daiichi reactor failure have in common? According to Jeff Miller, Ph.D., the investigation reports for these events all pointed to failures in safety culture as one of the contributing factors. 34
  34. 34. PROFILE Miller, a senior scientist and head of ORAU’s Center for Safety Studies, has led workplace safety and security culture evaluations for more than 35 organizations across the country and began researching safety culture in 2011 for a project in Oak Ridge. After a customer received a negative evaluation of their safety culture, they approached Miller to help them better understand contributing factors and provide recommendations for improvement. “Up until that assignment, I had a lot of experience with health and safety program implementation and had 10 years of senior management experience, but evaluating organizational culture was a new subject to me. I just dove into it,” Miller said. With Miller’s background in behavioral sciences, safety and business management, he and his team developed the means and methods to evaluate the workforce’s perception of safety culture. Results in hand, the team immediately moved into action, developing various interventions designed to improve the safety culture for this organization. Miller didn’t know it yet, but he and his team were pioneering research practices in a field that has matured to include the broader study of organizational culture. Also, he quickly learned that other organizations and facilities were in need of his safety and security evaluation services. “A person’s perceptions influence his or her attitude, which impacts behavior, which drives performance. It’s a chain of events that affects the performance of the entire organization,” Miller explained. “When I paint that picture to executives, they see how shaping their culture in a positive way can contribute to improved organizational performance.” Today, Miller focuses on evaluating organizations that perform highly hazardous work, including businesses in the nuclear industry. Businesses in this market deal with hazardous materials and face serious consequences if they experience a slip in safety performance. “These businesses must be highly reliable and maintain safety as the overriding concern,” Miller said. In cases where a disaster causes mass casualties, such as the nuclear accident in Fukushima, or has other devastating mass effects, such as the environmental disaster caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, incident investigations are quick to follow in the accident’s aftermath. Investigators often find that the precursors for these situations are related “Aperson’sperceptionsinfluencehisor her attitude, which impacts behavior, which drives performance. It’s a chain of events that affects the performance of the entire organization.” to management decision making, a breakdown in communication or insufficient management of change— all factors that can be revealed through Miller’s safety culture surveys. “There are generally two types of organizations that seek safety culture evaluations,” Miller said. “One is the organization that is in trouble following a serious incident. The other is the high-performance organization that doesn’t have any immediate issues, but their senior management understands that avoiding issues is a result of consistently improving their safety culture.” Years after his first evaluation, Miller continues to work with the Department of Energy and commercial nuclear facilities at locations across the United States, including South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, California, Idaho, Washington and Tennessee. Sites such as these use the results of Miller’s evaluations as a barometer for their current safety climate and to prevent little problems from becoming big ones. By developing rigorous scientific survey methods and providing actionable recommendations, Miller has become a leader in this field. He speaks at national conferences and has coauthored guides on best practices for safety culture evaluations for the Energy Facility Contractors Group, which has largely contributed to standardizing the industry’s evaluation process. Over the years, Miller has watched this field of research evolve, and now organizational leaders have come to know what to expect in a safety and security culture evaluation. He believes that this research will continue to shift toward organizational behavior and performance excellence studies. Regardless of where the industry moves, Miller emphasizes that even as a leader in this research, there’s room for growth and improvement. “We’re skilled and efficient in the execution of our safety and security culture evaluations, but we have to continue to get better all the time,” Miller said. “It’s up to us to continue to evolve and lead in this research to promote the health and safety of workers and the public.” 35
  35. 35. PROFILE Student-led project improves accuracy of dose reconstruction data for radiation workers Workers applying for compensation for their occupational illness deserve nothing short of the best technology and data integrity in the processing of their radiation dose calculation. A random limit in software code should not impede health physicists’ efforts to develop dose reconstruction calculations with pinpoint accuracy. University of Tennessee (UT) nuclear engineering doctoral student Mairead Montague—mentored by her UT faculty advisor Lawrance Heilbrown, Ph.D., and ORAU Health Physicist Roger Halsey—worked on a continuous improvement project with the dose reconstruction process. Montague’s project involved removing this limit to elicit higher quality, more accurate data. “The limit was put into the code to make it a little bit easier to work, but it doesn’t exist in reality,” said Montague, who also has an applied science degree from University of California, Berkeley. “So I have been removing the cap and adding more data in order to make it more realistic. While it shouldn’t make too big of a difference, ultimately it would be helpful to have a better understanding of the dose calculations.” It’s a small but important change. “Our project reconstructs worker doses. We go back and look at the records and see what people were exposed to in their workplaces,” Halsey said. One of the tools he and his team use to calculate radiation exposure is MCNP, a software package for simulating nuclear processes and exposure that was developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory in the late 36
  36. 36. PERSPECTIVESlowing, reversing the decline in U.S. life expectancy There’s a disturbing trend in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts—for a third straight year—average life expectancy is declining. Americans can now expect to live on average 78.6 years, shaving a little more than a month off the average life span. While a month doesn’t seem significant, the fact that we are seeing a decline in life expectancy not experienced since World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic is cause for concern. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and suicide are still widely recognized as leading causes of death, and substance abuse deaths fueled by opioid addiction among people under age 50 are now also a major contributor, according to CDC. There is one bright spot in the latest life expectancy data. Although it remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, cancer deaths are declining. Researchers at ORAU have worked extensively with government agencies such as CDC to develop communication strategies with the hope of reducing the risk of both substance abuse deaths and cancer. Combating opioid misuse and abuse through social media Appalachia is an area hit hard by the opioid epidemic. According to a 2017 report titled “Appalachian Diseases of Despair,” the overdose mortality rate among individuals ages 25 to 44 was 70 percent higher there than in the rest of the nation. This rate is fueled in part by economic downturns and what researchers cite as increased despair because of lack of opportunities. ORAU Health Communication and Marketing Project Manager Kristin Mattson led two opioid-focused projects for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The first project involved helping agencies responding directly to the opioid crisis build their communication capacities and skills. The second project helped build similar skills among agencies Theoverdosemortalityrateamong individuals ages 25 to 44 was 70 percent higher in Appalachia than in the rest of the nation. focused on strengthening the economy as part of a long- term solution. “We’re doing some incredibly important work,” said Mattson. “This is why public health practitioners go into public health. It’s so fulfilling to know that we’re making a difference in the lives of people suffering from an opioid-use disorder and those who love them.” With funding from CDC’s Injury Center, Mattson and ORAU Health Communication Section Manager Jennifer Reynolds traveled to six Appalachian states to provide training. Representatives from more than 30 anti- drug coalitions, not-for-profit organizations, local health departments, emergency response organizations and law enforcement agencies learned how to more effectively reach target audiences through social media. Carla Blanton, from Operation UNITE in London, Kentucky, reported that the training helped her organization garner “more than 40 percent growth in Facebook followers, a 700 percent increase in monthly Facebook posts, a 378 percent increase in Facebook reach and a nearly seven-fold increase in impressions on Twitter.” After a year of providing training, Mattson and Reynolds saw an opportunity to more formally 38
  37. 37. identify best practices specific to communicating about opioids in Appalachia. They, along with ORAU Health Communications Specialist Ben Wilburn, conducted in- depth interviews with subject matter experts and focus groups with community members, including those in recovery from opioid addiction. The goal was to identify effective content and messaging strategies for community- based campaigns about opioids. Results were published in 2018 in a report titled, “Communicating about Opioids in Appalachia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Best Practices.” The report was featured in news media and included as part of ARC testimony to the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. Improving perceptions, improving communities ARC granted $94 million through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to help coal-impacted communities throughout Appalachia grow their economies. ORAU led a program to equip POWER grantees with strategic communication skills to successfully promote their work to target audiences, the general public and the media. These efforts were an opportunity to replace the often negative and stereotypical narratives of Appalachia with more balanced and hopeful success stories. Joining Mattson and Reynolds, ORAU Health Education Project Manager Betsy Smither and ORAU Health Education Specialist Casey Thomas worked with grantees to develop strategic communication and community outreach plans through a series of workshops and technical assistance webinars. “Strategic communication skill building was something grantees identified as a need to make their programs more effective. We were honored to teach them these skills,” Mattson said. “Ultimately, communities, families and individuals that are economically healthy are better positioned to curb the crippling morbidity and mortality of the opioid epidemic.” 39
  38. 38. 1950s and has seen numerous updates. MCNP calculates radiation doses by modeling the layout of space in which the exposure occurred, the source of the exposure, the person in the space and the dose to the person. “A few years ago, I was running a calculation for neutron radiation,” Halsey said. He was using SOURCES-4C, a code used to calculate neutron spectrums for MCNP. “When I ran the calculation, I found that it had a built-in limit,” meaning it couldn’t calculate the impact from higher energy particles. Halsey has wanted to improve the accuracy of the dose calculations, even if just slightly, “so when we had the opportunity for a student to work on it, I suggested this as her project,” he said. That’s where Montague’s work comes into play. “For our project, we want to use the latest and greatest method to calculate exposures,” Halsey said. “By improving the code, Montague is giving us a tool to improve the calculation of these exposures.” The project was funded through ORAU’s Visiting Faculty Research Program (VFRP), now in its second year. The VFRP creates teams to tackle research projects of interest to the organization. Teams are comprised of faculty from an ORAU university consortium member institution, a student intern and an ORAU subject matter expert. Research Brief: First-of-its-kind study assesses beryllium workers’ health in the nearly 20 years since the passing of DOE protective legislation Since the Department of Energy (DOE) published the DOE Beryllium Rule in 1999, DOE sites have been required to measure beryllium levels for worker protection and for release of materials from beryllium-controlled areas. This rule was established to accomplish three goals: 1) reduce the number of workers currently exposed to beryllium, 2) minimize exposures and the potential for exposure, and 3) establish medical surveillance requirements for early detection of disease. Did the rule work to protect workers? While its impact has been evaluated through observational reports, with decreases in exposure and reported cases of beryllium sensitization (BeS), there have been no published studies assessing whether exposure reduction activities have had a statistically significant impact in the prevention of BeS… until now. ORAU and the University of Colorado, Denver, examined the incidence of BeS in a cohort of 6,915 workers employed at a single DOE nuclear site with nearly 29,000 beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT) results obtained from 1994 to 2018. The BeLPT is a blood test that measures beryllium sensitization, which is considered an allergic reaction to beryllium and a potential precursor to chronic beryllium disease. Workers were classified as beryllium sensitized when they met one of the following conditions: two abnormal blood BeLPT results, one abnormal and one borderline blood BeLPT result, three borderline blood BeLPT results, or one abnormal lung lavage BeLPT result, where cells and fluid from the lungs are analyzed. Results of the study, which was funded by an ORAU-Direct Research and Development grant, indicated an overall decrease in exposure and BeS incidence rates among the cohort, with some outlier data based on site cleanup activities involving beryllium. These findings provide support that the DOE Beryllium Rule helps avoid additional BeS cases. Future research will more precisely assess the relationship between beryllium exposure levels and beryllium incidence over time to inform possible predictions in estimating the burden of disease that could be reduced with enactment of new proposed exposure rules. 37

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