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George Siopsis, Director

George Siopsis, DirectorGeorge Siopsis is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Tennessee. He grew up in Greece and attended Sussex University in England where he got his B.Sc. degree majoring in mathematical physics. He did his graduate work at Caltech studying theoretical elementary particle physics, receiving his PhD in 1987. He then spent a few years as a research associate at Texas A&M University working on string theory before moving to Tennessee in 1991.

In recent years, his research has focused on quantum gravity and related issues (holography, entanglement, black holes and the information loss paradox), and applications to condensed matter physics. He has trained several PhD students who have embarked on promising careers, and introduced undergraduates as well as high school students to research in quantum physics and fundamental interactions. Currently, he is working on quantum computing and quantum information processing in collaboration with members of the Quantum Information Science group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Jessica Brannon, Program Coordinator

Jessica Brannon, Program CoordinatorJessica Brannon is the program coordinator for the Governor’s School for the Sciences and Engineering. She grew up right here in East Tennessee just up the road in Powell, Tennessee. She graduated from UT Chattanooga in 2006 where she received her BS majoring in both Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Before coming to work at UT Knoxville, she worked in both advertising sales and insurance. In May 2008 she began working at the University Center where she was the reservationist for the UC event services. In February 2013 she began her current position working for GSSE.

Marty LeBlanc, Resident Director

Originally from Michigan and now living in Tennessee, I am a second career teacher with 18 years of management experience prior to teaching. I graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 2007 and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education – Mathematics in 2009. This is my 12th year teaching high school Mathematics and PLTW Aerospace Engineering and Digital Electronics classes. I am a past member of the Troy University Math and Science Consortium and a current Civil Air Patrol Educator Member. I am also in my 8th year of coaching BEST and FIRST Robotics teams. 

I have a passion for teaching STEM because it affects virtually every component of our everyday lives. The students in our STEM classrooms are going to be the leaders of tomorrow and I want them to be ready for the challenge. I look forward to joining UTK’s Governor’s School for the Sciences & Engineering!

Jared Smith, Associate Resident Director

Hey everyone, I am a rising senior here at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. I am majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Microbiology and I have received a minor in Italian Language and Culture (Ciao Y’all!). After however many more years of graduate school I have left, I hope to find myself in a Microbiology Research career like the CDC. I have been an Resident Assistant at UT for 2 years for a variety of students including freshman, honors students, engineering majors, and upperclassman students. I was also a participant of GSSE in 2015. This Governor’s School program was by far the most significant reason for me coming to UT, which has been the best decision of my life so far! I was given the opportunity to be a Resident Assistant last summer for the 2018 program (shoutout to my championship Slytheropsin crew) and was so thankful to come back as the Associate Resident Director this year! During my days at college, I spend most of my free time with my Microbiology research lab where I investigate antibiotic resistance through different growth conditions. Additionally, I love UT sports as a whole as well as playing tennis, volleyball, badminton, but my all time favorite pastime is most definitely either eating or watching Forrest Gump. I am looking forward to meeting you all and helping you reach your highest potential here at Governor’s School for Sciences and Engineering!

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