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Courage to Climb Award Winner – December 2015

The Division of Student Life would like to congratulate Duncan Greeley on being selected as the winner of the December 2015 Courage to Climb Award!  Duncan is a senior from Knoxville, TN majoring in Materials Science and Engineering.

One of the main reasons Duncan choose to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) is because of the collaboration between the university and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which is one of the nation’s premier institutes for nuclear, environmental, and materials research.  Knowing that he wanted to get an education in a technical field, Duncan was attracted to the possibility of getting involved in groundbreaking research at Oak Ridge through UTK’s partnership.  His interest in Materials Science and Engineering was sparked by attending an ASM Materials Camp hosted by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at UTK the summer before his freshman year.  It was during this week-long educational experience that Duncan “discovered a field that was not only widely applicable but also was at the forefront of technological innovation throughout history [that] have helped propel society as a whole forwards.”  Due to the wide variety of advanced materials research taking place at UTK and ORNL, Duncan made the choice to pursue his degree in Materials Science and Engineering at UTK and, during his four years at the university, has taken full advantage of many academic and co-curricular activities during his time at the university.

Duncan has been heavily involved during his time at UT in research both on and off-campus.  As a research assistant at UT under the direction of Dr. David Keffer, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Duncan modeled polymer film behavior in molecular dynamics simulations and presented this research in poster format at several competitions and exhibitions, which were awarded two “Best Poster” awards.  In the summer of 2014, he worked at the U.S. Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at ORNL where he performed mechanical analysis and characterization of various carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer composites.  He presented a poster-presentation of his research at the 2014 ORNL Summer Student Poster Session.  In the summer of 2015, he was a Material Processes and Physics Engineering Intern at Boeing Research and Technology in Huntsville, Alabama.  This year, Duncan is currently working on metal additive manufacturing research with Dr. Suresh Babu.  As his nominator said, “Duncan has clearly demonstrated a commitment to research but he has also taken the next step to present and apply his research.”

In addition to his research endeavors, Duncan has also been heavily involved in the College of Engineering as a Student Ambassador and currently serves as the Ambassador Chair.  In his role as a Student Ambassador, he has assisted with recruiting prospective students by offering campus tours, attending college fairs at local high schools, and hosting informational tables at engineering events.  Duncan said that he “loves having the opportunity to engage personally with prospective high school students to share my love of engineering at the University of Tennessee.”  Duncan is also a member of UTK’s Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society.  Outside of his academic pursuits, Duncan enjoys the natural beauty of Knoxville and East Tennessee by running, hiking, and mountain biking.  Duncan also is an Eagle Scout and volunteers through the Chancellors Honors Program Community Service Committee.  In addition, he is a member of the UT Sailing Club and UT Model United Nations (UN) Club, where he served on the staff of the annual UT High School Model UN Conference since his freshman year.

Duncan will graduate with his Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Materials Science and Engineering the spring of 2016 and during the summer complete another internship at Boeing Research and Technology.  In the fall of 2016, Duncan plans to enroll in a graduate degree program in Materials Science and Engineering focused on metals research.  We wish Duncan the best of luck in his very bright future!