The Marcia Katz Scholarship Award

The Knoxville Association of Women Executives (KAWE) annually awards the Marcia Katz Scholarship to a woman scholar of promise who shows an interest in continuing her education and in developing as a professional in a field of her choice. Marcia Katz was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Tennessee. To honor her contributions in nuclear engineering research, teaching, and public service, KAWE has named and awarded this scholarship in her honor since 1990.

Scholarship recipients receive a cash award. See the Applications button below for current information on how to apply.

Eligibility is limited to women who

    • Have completed at least one semester at a 4-year accredited college
    • Are currently enrolled to take classes as an undergraduate
    • Are available for an interview if requested
    • Provide an official copy of a current college transcript
    • Provide contact information for two references
    • Are not an immediate family member of a KAWE member
    • Meet the deadline for receipt of applications
About Marcia Katz

Dr. E. Marcia Katz was an active KAWE member and the first woman to earn a mechanical engineering degree from UT (1975). After working for a national lab near Paris, France, Katz became the first female faculty member at the UT College of Engineering, where she taught, conducted research, and retired in 1985 as an associate professor of nuclear engineering. In 1985, she worked for Senator Jim Sasser, Washington DC, and returned in 1995 as a White House fellow advising the Clinton Administration on scientific and technological matters. Her recognition in 1978-79 as the Lily Fellow for Improving Undergraduate Teaching initiated a long list of honors and achievements, inspiring the KAWE scholarship, which we award in her name. Click HERE to read a tribute from Emma Bea Stallings, who read this tribute at Dr. Katz’ life celebration held by KAWE members in Knoxville. Click HERE to read a tribute from Thomas W. Broadhead, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Undergraduate Academic Advancement, UTK, a friend and colleague of Dr. Katz. Click HERE to read her obit.

Jessica Pierce, 2021 Marcia Katz Scholarship Winner

KAWE awarded $2500 to Jessica Pierce, the 2021 Marcia Katz Scholarship winner. Jessica is a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering at the University of TN, Knoxville. As an undergraduate research assistant in Musculoskeletal Biomechanics, she seeks innovations in Invasive Prosthesis Implantations. She plans to attend medical school to become a neurosurgeon who can apply the knowledge and skills she’s acquired in biomedical engineering. Jessica has developed a diverse technical skillset by working on a wide variety of projects including measuring properties of muscles from rabbit hindlimb tissues; prepping for animal surgery and assisting in post-surgery care; and participating in a co-op position at an Ontario hospital in the Outpatient Neurology Division where she shadowed and assisted physical therapists in the surgery ward.

This year, at the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Research Conference, she won first place in the Engineering Poster Presentation Category based on her DeepLabCut research. She is an active participant in the Multicultural Engineering Program and as a Tickle College of Engineering Ambassador, she serves in recruitment by giving tours and webinars to prospective students. In UTK’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, Jessica is currently serving as Vice President and has organized community service and outreach activities. Jessica is also the Principal-Chair oboe player in UT’s Symphonic Band.

Rader Hayes, Scholarship Chair, introduces Jessica Pierce at the November luncheon.

Jessica addressing KAWE members

Nancy Larson, scholarship committee member; Toni Pierce, Jessica’s aunt; Rader Hayes, committee chair; Jessica; and Elizabeth Offringa, scholarship committee member