Candice Halbert is a scientific associate (SA) for one of the research instruments (liquids reflectometer) at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Her research experience includes polymer morphology and diffusion studies, membranes and their intermolecular interactions, and organometallic catalyst synthesis. She obtained a BS in chemistry from Illinois State University in 2001 and an MS in chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 2003. Before embarking on her career in neutron scattering at ORNL, she worked in the pharmaceutical and nuclear waste management industries.
While Candice has a full-time position as an SA, she also finds time for campus recruiting and is a representative of ORNL at conferences and campus career fairs. Her participation is instrumental in attracting and creating a pipeline for early career STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) talent into the Laboratory, including undergraduate and graduate interns and recent BS, MS, and PhD graduates. As an alumni of Georgia Tech, she attends Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) research symposiums, career fairs, Society of Women Engineer regional conference, hosted an “Out in STEM” information session at Georgia Tech. At these events, she meet with students and staff to discuss the great science happening at ORNL, served on professional panels answering student’s questions about life after graduate school and self-marketing, and addressed concerns about diversity at ORNL, including how ORNL is a safe space for all genders and sexual orientations.
In Candice’s work setting as a STEM professional, she is often the only woman in the room, and even more often the only person of color. To change this, she established Youth Outreach in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (Yo-STEM), a nonprofit designed to work with underserved communities to address the lack of diversity in STEM fields.
To date, Yo-STEM has served over 1000 children providing hands on STEM activities in Knox and Anderson counties. As community interest in the programs continues to grow, Candice will work hard to encourage, engage and expose students to STEM activities.
Candice’s community involvement is with Knoxville Area Urban League Young Professionals (KAULYP), and the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum (KBGA). Candice Halbert is a mother of a nine-year-old son, and enjoys traveling, hanging out with family and friends, and Zumba.