Faces of Tennessee Women in STEM

Dr. Arlene A. Garrison

Assistant Vice President for Research | University of Tennessee

How did you become interested in math or science field while at high school?

My interest in science comes from elementary school. I always enjoyed math class, and became very excited with the early days of the astronaut program. In middle school I had my first real science course and entered a Science Fair. It was a lot of fun to meet other students from the area and the experiment was interesting. I mixed wood and hydrochloric acid in my mother's pressure cooker to make a messy inedible form of sugar by breaking down the cellulose.

What are some areas of your job that you like the most?

My job as a scientist has always involved meeting lots of interesting people and attending exciting conferences. It is also fascinating to write proposals and reports about the research. The best part of the job is communicating with people who have similar interests from all over the country and the world. I have given technical talks in several countries and always take a little extra time to visit interesting places while I am there giving a talk.

Biography

Arlene A. Garrison is Assistant Vice President for Research at The University of Tennessee. Prior to her current role, she held a number of different positions with UT, including Director of MCEC, an Industry/University Collaborative Research Center and Licensing Executive with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, the organization that markets faculty inventions. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, both from the University of Tennessee. She is Alternate Councilor for the East Tennessee Section of the American Chemical Society and is a member of the ACS Women's Chemist Committee and served on the ACS Presidential Task Force on Women in the Chemical Profession. Arlene has published numerous technical papers and has lectured at many universities and conferences throughout the world. In her local community, Arlene is on the Board of the Public Building Authority and the Board of the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair. In recognition of her volunteer work in science outreach to pre-college students, Arlene was one of the 10,000 Olympic Torch Bearers as the torch moved to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

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