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. Applications are available on the website,, and must be submitted to by June 30, 2021. The awardee will be selected in October and recognized at a KAWE luncheon with a check presentation in November. Rader Hayes is chairing the 2021 scholarship selection committee.

Meet the deadline for receipt of applications, which is June 30, 2021.

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, which is June 30, 2021.

Locally founded in 1982, the Knoxville Association of Women Executives is a member-led business and professional membership organization. It strives to provide executive women with opportunities to grow professionally including networking, building relationships, personal and professional development, mentoring, and leadership.  The group meets on the second Thursday of each month. More information about the organization and the award is available at

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.

2020 Marcia Katz Scholarship Winners







Mya Pinson                                                                                                                                                                                      Rachel An

Mya Pinson is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville majoring in Aerospace Engineering. She is passionate about engineering and plans to use her physics, math, and research skills to become an engineer at NASA. Her inspiration comes from the black women aerospace engineers such as those featured in the movie Hidden Figures who worked for NASA and aided in the orbit of the Friendship 7.

Rachel An is currently pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After discovering her passion for marine renewable energy, she hopes to continue her education to explore and grow in this field. Just as Marcia Katz bravely pursued paths rarely taken by being the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Engineering from UT, Rachel desires to pursue a challenging and unfamiliar path into marine renewable energy, a nascent industry with its future wrapped in uncertainty, yet promising great potential. In the next five to ten years she hopes to contribute to strengthening the marine renewable energy sector to help the United States gain a stronger clean energy portfolio.