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Further Together, the ORAU podcast

Further Together, the ORAU podcast

Join host Michael Holtz as he discusses all things ORAU, through interviews with our experts who provide innovative scientific and technical solutions for our customers. They’ll talk about ORAU’s storied history, how we’re impacting an ever-changing world, as well as our commitment to our community.

The Further Together episode guide below will allow you to listen to each edition on You can also find Further Together on the Apple Podcasts app for iOS devices, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher.

Kerri Cagle, director of Peer Review at ORAU

Episode 62: There is no "I" in team, and the team succeeds

Keri Cagle, ORAU director of science and technology and ORISE director of scientific technical resource integration, is willing to bet she has the best team in the entire ORAU enterprise. They're close knit, they work hard, and they have experienced loads of successes over the past year and beyond. Leading a team like hers bring her joy, as does the optimism she feels about the anticipated growth of ORAU. She wears two (and probably more) hats at ORAU, while also pursuing a doctoral degree, building a new house and spending time with her family. Learn more about Keri during her conversation with Michael Holtz for this episode of Further Together.

Listen to Episode 62 Transcript for Episode 62

Episode 61: Isaac Clark’s busy life: children’s book author supports mental health cause

Episode 61: Isaac Clark’s busy life: children’s book author supports mental health cause

Isaac Clark, an ORAU program specialist, leaned into his creative side to write a children's book called Batchy's Busy Day. Batchy spends one very busy day attempting to help his friends with basic chores but ends up causing more problems than he solved. Clark is donating a portion of proceeds from the book to the International OCD Foundation, which helps people with OCD access mental health services and support resources. Clark experiences OCD himself, which he talks about during this conversation with Further Together host Michael Holtz.

Listen to Episode 61 Transcript for Episode 61

Episode 60: Creating a Data Science Consortium for Minority Serving Institutions

Episode 60: Creating a Data Science Consortium for Minority Serving Institutions

Jason Black, Ph.D., an associate professor of information systems at Florida A&M University, is the apple who didn't fall far from the tree. His mother was a computer scientist for IBM Watson in the 1960s who later taught at FAMU. Because of her work, Dr. Black was around and worked with computers for much of his life, including coding games that he would charge his friends a quarter to play. Today, he is leading a data science consortium for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions. Michael Holtz and Dr. Black had a great conversation. Join them for great insights into the world of data science.

Listen to Episode 60 Transcript for Episode 60

Episode 59: The World is Wide Enough: ORISE Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship

Episode 59: The World is Wide Enough: ORISE Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship

In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz talks about the National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship, which is managed by ORISE. Ryleigh Moore, a doctoral candidate and program participant; Marissa Torres, Ryleigh's mentor; and Jennifer Burnette, the program manager. Ryleigh talks about the many avenues she has open to her because of the program and the potential that exists. She says she is excited about the future and wants to do something where she can help the most people.

Listen to Episode 59 Transcript for Episode 59

Kristy Kistner

Episode 58: ISO 9004 and the future of quality standards, a conversation with Kristy Kistner

Kristy Kistner, ORAU's Director of Performance Excellence, knows a thing or two million about quality standards and assurance practices. So much so, in fact, that she was one of three United States experts invited to join an international ad hoc group established to examine the feasibility of converting International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9004 into a quality assurance standard with stated requirements for organizations to achieve. Currently, 9004 is a series of best practices for ongoing quality assurance. Michael Holtz and Jenna Harpenau discuss the work of this ad hoc group, Kristy's role and ORAU and how she became the organization's quality expert.

Listen to Episode 58 Transcript for Episode 58

Past Episodes

  • When the coronavirus pandemic struck more than a year ago, ORAU Workforce Solutions was poised to help their customers manage the transition from work-from-work to work-from-home. Amanda Hurley, Workforce Solutions section manager, reflects on how the technology her team uses every day set them up for success during a time of incredible change. Virtual career fairs, video interviews and more have long been part of Hurley's team's workflow. In this episode of Further Together, Hurley describes how her team weathered the pandemic for their customers, job candidates and her team.

    Listen to Episode 57 Transcript for Episode 57

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to adapt and adjust in some way at the organizational level, the individual level and beyond. How organizations adapt and cope with COVID will impact our organizational culture for five years and perhaps longer. Jeff Miller, Ph.D., ORAU Senior Vice President and Director of ORAU Government Services, presents the evidence for how the stressors of the last 14 months will stay with us for years to come. This is a not-to-be-missed conversation.

    Listen to Episode 56 Transcript for Episode 56

  • Workplaces across the country shifted to remote work to protect people from the fast-spreading coronavirus a year ago, including national laboratories and other federal research agencies. At one point, 80% of ORISE research participation program participants were working remotely. The task to make that shift was enormous, considering RPPs are not designed for remote work. With expert guidance from the ORISE workforce development team and by deploying the technology we've all become used to over the last year, the transition to remote work went smoothly. So did the transition to remote teacher professional development and student STEM education programs, thanks to the K-12 STEM Education team. How did they do it, how will this impact programs for the future, and what happens next? We discuss all of this and more in this extended episode of the ORISE Featurecast.

    Listen to Episode 55   Transcript for Episode 55

  • Dr. Phil Bourne, Stephenson Dean of the School of Data Science at the University of Virginia, didn't set out to be a data scientist. Rather, Bourne, who hails from Australia, began his career as a physical chemist. He got interested in the computational part of physical chemistry, which led him to become an expert in compiling huge data sets. Among his many accomplishments, Bourne served as associate director of data science at the National Institutes of Health. During this conversation, Bourne talks about his career path, the importance of data science, and the "school without walls" that he leads at UVA. Data science is cross-cutting, and is part of many aspects of our lives whether we know it or not.

    Listen to Episode 54

  • The Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program was established in 2000 to support unclassified basic research in areas of interest to the intelligence community. Funded primarily by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the program annually supports several Postdoctoral Fellows from U.S. accredited colleges, universities, and U.S. Government laboratories across the country. In this episode of the ORISE Featurecast, host Michael Holtz sits down virtually with Helena Liuag, IC postdoc program manager; Nebila Lichiheb and Yun Tao, two postdocs participating in the program; and Kevin Lafferty, research advisor. The conversation covers everything from how the program works, to the types of research opportunities available, to the day in the life of a postdoc working from home during a pandemic. Postdoctoral students interested in applying should visit

    Listen to Episode 53  Transcript for Episode 53

  • Dr. Adayabalam Balajee, director of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory, is a busy and prolific researcher. Most recently, he co-authored a manuscript in partnership with colleagues at the University of Tennessee that was recently published in Nature Communications. He has also developed the Chromosome Challenge, which gamifies the identification of dicentric chromosomes with the ultimate goal of recruiting people to assist with the identification process in the event of a radiation emergency. Not unexpectedly, he has other projects in the pipeline. ORISE Featurecast hosts Jenna Harpenau and Michael Holtz spent some time catching up with Dr. Balajee last month. Join us for a great conversation.

    Listen to Episode 52  Transcript for Episode 52

  • In this episode of Further Together, the ORAU Podcast, host Michael Holtz talks with Renee Cummings, data advocate in residence and criminologist at the University of Virginia School of Data Science. In this wide-ranging, important and hopeful conversation, Cummings discusses data science ethics including the ethics of Artificial Intelligence; diversity, equity and inclusion in AI development; algorithm authenticity and accountability; data integrity and so much more. She riveted the audience during an ORAU-hosted data science webinar in December 2020 and has the same impact during this conversation.

    Listen to Episode 51  Transcript for Episode 51

  • ORAU's 127-member University Consortium enables us to leverage the research capabilities of members and those of our subject matter experts to collaborate on research projects that meet the needs of our federal and industry partners. Through ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) funding, future research projects will be focused around public health, data science and analytics, and diversity, equity, and inclusion studies.

    Ken Tobin and Cathy Fore from ORAU's Research and University Partnerships Office discuss ORAU's research priority areas, how RUPO serves as matchmaker and convener for universities and federal agencies, and their excitement for the future of research at ORAU. Join us for an interesting and enlightening conversation. 

    Listen to Episode 50  Transcript for Episode 50

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sara Alert™ was developed to automate the monitoring of individuals exposed to or infected with COVID-19. In partnership with MITRE, ORAU’s goal is to leverage existing Sara Alert™ technology to protect the health of students and faculty on campus by creating a tool customized to university needs, Sara Alert™ Academic. Sara Alert™ Academic enables students and faculty to enter their symptoms daily, providing real time insights to university health staff working to contain the spread of the virus on campus. Sara Alert™ Academic can help universities safely operate campuses through increased efficiency in tracking potential cases, leading to earlier containment of the virus and reduction of burden on resources. The system can also help universities track vaccine uptake for COVID-19. While Sara Alert™ Academic was developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the system is useful for any public health emergency, include influenza and other illness outbreaks. Michael Holtz and Jenna Harpenau had an in-depth conversation with the ORAU team behind Sara Alert™ Academic. Join us for this important conversation.

    Listen to Episode 49 Transcript for Episode 49

  • Those of us who work here say it frequently: ORAU is a family. Few of us, though, can say that with 50 years of company experience under their belts. Betty Bowling retired at the end of November from her role as a program specialist working with the EPA Student Services Program, just one of the many positions she's held in the company over the years. Jenna Harpenau and Michael Holtz talk to Betty about her first job at ORAU, how business has changed from key punch cards and cocktail hour in the president's office to the modern, leading edge organization we are today. Join us for a fun and interesting conversation.

    Listen to Episode 48 Transcript for Episode 48

  • Talking about how rough 2020 has been borders on cliche at this point, but makes it no less true. From a global pandemic seemingly raging out of control to the economic fallout of decisions made to protect people to personal challenges that have occurred for many of us on top of all of that, 2020 has been difficult. But, as you'll hear in this special episode of Further Together, the ORAU podcast, there is a silver lining if you are willing to look for it. And, there is always, always something for which to be grateful. We hope you enjoy this episode. Thank you to the ORAU employees who shared their stories. Thanks to everyone in our audience for listening. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Listen to Episode 47 Transcript for Episode 47

View the full Further Together Podcast Archive

Contact us

Pam Bonee
Work: 865.576.3146 
Cell: 865.603.5142 

Wendy West
Work: 865.576.0028 
Cell: 865.207.7953