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ORAU in the News

Learn more about how ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions for the Department of Energy and other federal agencies through news articles that highlight our commitment to advancing science education and workforce development, and protect health and the environment; our unique laboratory capabilities; our specialized teams of experts; and our consortium of 100+ universities.

It's time for the Extreme Classroom Makeover Giveaway with ORAU


Teachers get your creative video making skills warmed up! It's time for the Extreme Classroom Makeover Giveaway with ORAU! It's a $25,000 classroom makeover that's changing lives. Michael Holtz from ORAU tells us more about how to enter the content and Extreme Classroom Makeover winner Renee Powell tells us how winning this contest has changed not only her life, but the lives of her students as well.

ORAU is taking applications for its 2020 Extreme Classroom Makeover

The CW Knoxville

Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 edition of ORAU's Extreme Classroom Makeover, which awards one teacher with $25,000 for technology in his or her classroom. Deadline is February 7, 2020. To learn more visit

Lanier Elementary School unveils $25,000 Extreme Classroom Makeover funded by Oak Ridge Associated Universities

The Daily Times

With a $25,000 grant to spend, teacher Renee Powell logged in to Amazon and started placing 3D printers, robots, virtual reality goggles, digital microscopes, drones and sewing machines in her virtual shopping cart. She kept shopping to create the Extreme Classroom Makeover envisioned in the school’s winning video for the program funded by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Lanier Elementary School STEM teacher gets Extreme Classroom Makeover

Renee Powell, STEM teacher at Lanier Elementary School in Maryville, was named the winner of Oak Ridge Associated Universities' 11th annual Extreme Classroom Makeover. Powell purchased $25,000 worth of new technology for her classroom, including earth models and digital microscopes for biology.

Disrupting the SySTEM: East Tennessee races to build future STEM workforce

In East Tennessee -- and across the country -- finding the right candidates and enough candidates to take over advanced positions in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields has become a constant battle. STEM occupations are at an all-time high, while U.s. universities are struggling to keep up with demand. In this story, experts from ORAU and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education discuss the roadmap to building a strong STEM workforce.

East Tennessee teachers become crime busters


Dr. Al Hazari, retired chemistry professor from the University of Tennessee, led a group of 1st through 5th grade teachers through a series of activities they can do with their students to help solve crimes, including chromatography and handwriting analysis techniques.

Clinton Elementary students look for pond algae solution


Students at Clinton Elementary School saw a problem with a community pond, so they decided to come up with a solution. They solved the problem with plants that would compete with algae for nitrogen in the water. The project was possible thanks to a grant from ORAU.

ORAU summer programs kick off


Jennifer Tyrell, ORAU K-12 section manager, talks with anchor Mark Packer about free professional development programs for educators and educational programs for students available at ORAU this summer. Learn more at

I was airlifted out of the Viking Sky cruise ship, and an entire town came to my aid

USA Today

When my husband, Allan Reiss, our friends Richard and Laura Wolfe, and I planned a year ago to take a cruise around Norway, we imagined an idyllic escape from the world to explore the beautiful fjords and landscapes of a place we had never been. While most of the trip was a dream come true, it was fun until it wasn't.

ORAU, TMCF partner to further STEM research opportunities at HBCUs

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) has recently partnered with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) to further student and faculty opportunities in STEM research at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This partnership, which officially began with the signing of a memorandum of understanding on March 29, will strive to provide resources to those schools to encourage faculty and student STEM research.

'This can't be real': Clinton couple rescued from Viking Sky cruise ship in dramatic airlift

Knoxville News Sentinel

When Jamey Kennedy, 64, of Clinton, booked a Norwegian cruise on the Viking Sky, she never imagined it would end with her dangling from a helicopter over towering, violent ocean waves. Kennedy, a strategic planning advisor at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, was at the tail end of an enjoyable vacation with her husband, Allan Reiss, 75, and their neighbors, Laura and Richard Wolfe.

ORAU awards Blount county teacher $25,000 technology make-over


It's time for a technology make-over for one Blount County elementary school. ORAU awarded $25,000 to Renee Powell, a STEM teacher at Lanier Elementary School. Powell won the top prize in ORAU's annual Extreme Classroom Makeover.

Lanier Elementary School teacher gets $25,000 classroom makeover


A Blount County elementary school teacher found out she will get an Extreme Classroom Makeover Monday afternoon. Renee Powell from Lanier Elementary School received $25,000 to make over her classroom with the latest technology. The grant is from Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Supporter meets recipient of Project Grad laptop


Our first WATE 6 On Your Side Project Grad Laptop Telethon kicked off last March, bright and early in the morning. Eric Abelquist, executive vice president at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, presented a check to help the cause and inspire others to give. This year, ORAU is back, doubling its support. They came by the station to meet student Demyia Smith.

'ALL of us are part of history,' says Upton, 1st black female Clinton High graduate

Oak Ridger

IN 1956, the Clinton 12 attended Clinton High School, becoming the first black students to attend the previously all-white school. This was after the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Two students who attended Clinton High School at the time -- retired longtime Clinton attorney Jerry Shattuck, a former Clinton High School class president and football team captain, and Clinton 12 member Gail Ann Epps Upton, the first black female student to graduate from Clinton High School -- addressed a crowd gathered Wednesday in the Oak Ridge Associated Universities' Pollard Auditorium for a unique ORAU Black History Month event.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities Honors Clinton 12


Oak Ridge Associated Universities celebrated Black History Month earlier Wednesday by remebering and honoring the Clinton 12. The Clinton 12 consists of 12 young people in Clinton, Tenn., who were the first students to integrate a state-supported high school in the South by court order in 1956.

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