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ORNL’s Amy Elliott named AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador

Amy Elliott, an engineer and researcher studying additive manufacturing at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been selected as one of 125 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) IF/THEN Ambassadors.

AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors are chosen to serve as high profile role models for middle school girls. The IF/THEN program was launched by Lydia Hill Philanthropies to further advance women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers.

“I’m extremely honored to be invited into this cohort to promote women in STEM,” Elliott said. “I think every woman in STEM holds this close to heart but wishes she could do more or better outreach.” 

Elliott joined DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL in 2013 while finishing up her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Tech DREAMS (Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing) Lab.  

At the MDF, a DOE user facility supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Office, she focuses her research on binder printing. This type of additive manufacturing uses a binder to fuse together layers of metal powder spread across a surface, a technique that can produce objects in shapes and out of materials that are typically difficult to print. Elliott has several patents pending related to 3D printing technology. In addition to her research, she mentors interns and leads student groups at the MDF and has been a principle investigator and contact for minority STEM activities, as well.

“The goal of IF/THEN is to shift the way our country — and the world — think about women in STEM,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies. “This requires changing the narratives about women STEM professionals and improving their visibility.”

To achieve this goal, AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors will connect with students in person and through various media platforms, including popular YouTube channels and network television shows. They’ll also receive specialized media and storytelling training.

 Elliott is no stranger to communicating science through popular media. She competed on Discovery Channel’s “The Big Brain Theory,” an engineering competition show, as a graduate student, snagging a second-place finish. She currently serves as an expert commentator on the Science Channel’s “Outrageous Acts of Science” and is an on-camera producer and co-host for RoboNation TV, a webseries focused on advances in robotics.

AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors were selected through a rigorous selection process. Candidates were evaluated for overall excellence with a focus on the following:

  • contributions to their STEM-related field, commensurate with their career stage;
  • demonstrated experience and abilities in STEM communication and public engagement via media, classroom, and public programs; and
  • commitment to inspiring middle-school girls to be the next generation of STEM pioneers.

For a complete list of Ambassadors, go to www.ifthenshecan.org/ambassadors.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://energy.gov/science. – Abby Bower