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Why Science?

ORNL is proud of its role in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers. We bring in talented young researchers, team them with accomplished staff members, and put them to work at the lab’s one-of-a-kind facilities. The result is research that makes us proud and prepares them for distinguished careers. 

We asked some of these young researchers why they chose a career in science, what they are working on at ORNL, and where they would like to go with their careers.

Kendra Allen

Graduate student, Biosciences Division
Ph.D. student, Energy Science and Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Bredesen Center)
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

What are you working on at ORNL?

The goal of my work is to understand the effects of biomaterials on the physical and chemical environment of microbial communities. By examining the processes of bacteria as they are encapsulated, we hope to understand their functionality and use in complex materials.

What would you like to do in your career?

I would love a career that focuses on my passions of interdisciplinary research in the sciences and engineering, collaboration of community partners and government entities, and research-based teaching within science classrooms. I am unsure what role that is, but I am excited to see where the journey takes me!

Why did you choose a career in science?

I chose a career in science because it gave me foundational critical and systematic thinking skills, allowing me to accomplish goals that I previously thought were impossible and to be the example I always wanted to see growing up.