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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 and a master’s degree in chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 2003. Before embarking on a career in neutron scattering at ORNL, she worked in the pharmaceutical and nuclear waste management industries.

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 demographics to address the lack of diversity in STEM fields.

Candice works hard to encourage, engage and expose students to STEM activities. Candice Halbert is a mother of a eight-year-old son, and enjoys traveling, hanging out with family and friends, and Zumba.

Clarice Phelps

Vice President

For the last 10 years, Clarice has worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Research Scientist.  Previously she served 4.5 years in the Navy as a Engineering Laboratory Technician onboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).   She earned a B.S. in Chemistry at Tennessee State University.  Clarice loves reading, arts and craft projects, bike riding, youth outreach, and family - husband, daughter, and twin boys.  She lends her knowledge and skills to the Project G.R.A.D. summer institute and Knoxville career days and career fairs/expos,  She is a member of the Knoxville chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she has served as Vice President and chairs several signature programs.  She has spoken at several STEM related events through ORNL and AKA and plans to continue spreading the message about STEM related careers and opportunities for young people.

Kayla Phillips


Kayla 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.

Lynnez Gray-Thompson


Lynnez is the CW Knoxville Morning Show producer. As a member of local media and a resident of Knoxville, she takes pride in connecting with East Tennessee communities and supporting local businesses, charities and non-profit organizations. Lynnez enjoys singing, traveling, reading and spending time with family. 

Luke P. Ihnen


Luke P. Ihnen is an attorney whose practice focuses on medical malpractice defense, healthcare audits and investigations, business litigation, employment discrimination defense, and other civil and regulatory matters. He represents clients before state and federal courts and administrative tribunals.

Luke is a graduate of Florida State University, earning bachelors and a master's degree in Political Science, and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Before attending law school, Luke worked for a nonprofit, managed political campaigns, and in government relations at the Florida Legislature.

Luke is active in the legal community, serving as a member of the Knoxville, American, and Tennessee Bar Associations, Defense Research Institute, and the Knoxville Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society. He also serves as a board member of Sleeves4Needs, a local nonprofit, and is President-elect of the Tennessee PKU Foundation.

Luke lives in the Parkridge Community with his wife, Kelly, and daughters, Ella Fay and Margot Anne. He enjoys politics, reading, and writing.

Kiame Biandudi

Kiame Biandudi is a native of Knoxville, TN and a lifetime lover of the arts. After studying at Berea College, Kiame returned to Knoxville in search of the perfect blend of advocacy for those without voices and art in any form. Years later, she found herself teaching at West High School in Knoxville, where she founded and facilitated TEA Mentorship Program, an organization designed to promote healthy self-advocacy and social, cultural, and political awareness through art and discussion amount upperclassmen preparing to enter into adulthood. As she continues to mentor young adults, Kiame has also recently been appointed President of Knoxville Area Urban League Young Professionals-an organization in which she also serves as Chair of the Education and Youth Empowerment Committee. Additionally, she is a voting member of grassroots organization, Alternate ROOTS.

John C. Parks

John C. Parks has spent over 35 years in developing business strategy and organizational transformation. He has worked for three (3) Fortune 500 companies in high-speed manufacturing and non-profit organizations. He specializes in developing business strategy and development, start-up businesses, learning & development models, and organizational transformation. During his career, he has managed over 3,000 employees, operating budgets totaling over 500 million dollars annually, and assets totaling over 1.5 billion dollars annually. During this time frame, he has reduced operating costs by over $125 million. He retired from corporate America in 2007 to pursue his career interests.

John Parks is the Senior Pastor of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church of Winston Salem, NC. He has been a pastor since 1977. With over 40 years as a pastor, he has proven leadership in transforming churches for progressive growth and personal development.

John Parks is also the author of five (5) books and has three (3) patents pending. He is a business consultant, strategic advisor, author, lecturer, and inventor.