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Board of Directors

Engage. Encourage. Educate

Candice Halbert

President/ Founder

Candice Halbert is a scientific associate for the liquids reflectometer, a research instrument at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source facility. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Illinois State University in 2001, a master’s degree in chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 2003, and is currently in pursuit of a PhD in Polymer Chemistry at the University of Tennessee.   Before embarking on a career in neutron scattering at ORNL, she worked in the pharmaceutical and nuclear waste management industries.

Candice has been recognized for community outreach by being awarded 2020 Tennessee STEM Innovation Network STEM Advocate of the year, 2020 ORNL Community Outreach team award, and Knoxville 40 under 40, class of 2017. She continues to work hard to encourage, engage and expose students to STEM activities across the US. Candice Halbert is a mother of a twelve-year-old son, and enjoys traveling, hanging out with family and friends, and Zumba.

Clarice Phelps

Vice President

For the last 13+ years, Clarice has worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Research Scientist. She previously served 4.5 years in the Navy as an Engineering Laboratory Technician onboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). She earned a B.S. in Chemistry at Tennessee State University and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas- Austin. Clarice loves reading, arts and craft projects, bike riding, youth outreach, and family - husband, daughter, and twin boys. She has lent her knowledge and skills to the Project G.R.A.D. summer institute and Knoxville career days as well as career fairs/expos, She is a member of the Knoxville chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as well as the Knoxville Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She has spoken at several STEM related events and has earned several awards for her dedication to spreading the message about STEM related careers, education and opportunities for young people.

Kayla Phillips


Kayla Phillips is a Radiochemical Engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She supports both hot cell chemical processing and glovebox operations related to existing programs at the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center. Kayla graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University in 2017. Kayla was raised in Knoxville, TN and is a fifth generation employee at the lab. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jacob, and two-year-old son, Hunter, as well as playing piano and Foosball.

Cindy Sanford


Cindy Sanford has been an educator with Knox Co. Schools since 2006. She is currently the Trauma Responsive Specialist for Knox County Schools. Cindy has two start-up nonprofit organizations. BELLA Breast Cancer Foundation that supports Black woman from cancer diagnosis through all stages of treatment and beyond. My other organization is The Knoxville Walkers. This organization supports Black women starting their self-renewal journey through walking. Cindy was born and raised in the city of Chicago and moved to Knoxville in 1996 with her husband of 23 years and 21 year old daughter.

Dr. Shaneda Destine

Dr. Shaneda Destine is an Assistant Professor with a dual appointment in Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Destine’s research focus is race, gender, sexuality, and contemporary social movements. She is most interested in how state violence effects the livelihood of marginalized people. She investigates forms of resistance of Black women and Black Queer people, as they create spaces of Black Joy and Respite, while struggling for liberation. Her research highlights the unique ways Black women and femmes are affected by state violence and the ways in which they strategize and negotiate organizing, leading and caring for themselves and movement participants, as part of their political practice. Dr. Destine’s work is theoretically informed by Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and Black Radical Social Movement Theory. Her goal is to further the notion that race, gender, class, and sexuality act as vectors of oppressions central to the sustaining global capitalism and systemic oppression, particularly through state violence.

Corey Hodge was born in Marietta, Georgia and raised in East Knoxville, Tennessee. He is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and Lincoln Memorial University. He is the founder and provider of the Legends of Knoxville Scholarship. With the creation of the dystopian fiction As the Sun Smiles, a novel that pulls from portions of his personal life and has urban/national relevancy, Corey is now a proud award winning author and hopes to use this as further evidence that, regardless of demographic, ambition and faith can move any mountain.

Corey Hodge

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