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Gerardine (Gerri) G. Botte, PhD 

Center Director, Thrust 3 Lead

Dr. Botte is a visionary and a recognized leader in electrochemical science and technology with expertise in electrocatalysis of nitrogen compounds.

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Paul Kohl, PhD

Deputy Director

Dr. Kohl is the CASFER Deputy Director from Georgia Institute of Technology with many years of experise and expertise in electrochemistry.​

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Tracie McClaran, MBA 

Executive and Administrative Director

McClaran has 13 years of grant management experience with private, state, and federally funded grant projects. 

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Roger French, PhD

Thrust 1 Lead, CO-PI

Dr. French's research focuses on optical properties and electronic structure of optical materials, polymers, and ceramics. 

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Marta Hatzell, PhD 

Thrust 2 Lead, CO-PI

Dr. Hatzell's research focuses on exploring the role photochemistry and electrochemistry may play in future sustainable systems. 

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Ariel Furst, PhD


Dr. Furst's research focuses on improving human and environmental health by making access to resources more accessible.

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Odemari Mbuya, PhD 

Testbeds Lead, CO-PI

Dr. Mbuya's research interests include water resources, watersheds, nutrient and water management, phytoremediation, and crop and watershed modeling. 

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Ozhan Gecgel, PhD

Senior Project and Development Engineer

Dr. Gecgel is a Senior Project and Development Engineer working at CASFER at Texas Tech University responsible for testbed design and manufacturing.

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Matt Siebecker, PhD

Testbeds Lead

Dr. Siebecker is an Assistant Professor of Applied Environmental Soil Chemistry in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University.

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Christian E. Alvarez-Pugliese, PhD

Research and Team Science Coordinator

Dr. Alvarez-Pugliese is a Senior Research Associate working in the Chemical Engineering Department at Texas Tech University. He is CASFER’s Research and Team Science Coordinator.

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Zaida Gracia, MS

Senior Director for Inclusive Workforce Development and Education

Gracia serves as CASFER's Senior Director for Inclusive Workforce Development and Education and has been with Texas Tech since 2013.

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Nikki Riojas, MFA

Industrial Liaison Officer

With a passion for community and relationship-building, Riojas is a seasoned strategic marketing professional with over 20 years of industry experience. 

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Maria Castro, MEd

Associate Director of Finance

Castro now serves as the Associate Director of Finance for the center, providing support in finance and Human Resources.

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Nathan Caballero, MA

Media Relations Coordinator

Caballero provides support for the creation and maintenance of all digital media, including presentations, graphics, videos, etc.

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Autum Ward

Business Coordinator

Ward manages a spectrum of responsibilities crucial to the center's seamless operations with a keen eye for detail and a proactive approach.

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Werner Kuhr, PhD 

Innovation Ecosystem Director

Dr. Kuhr serves as Associate Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; He will oversee and enhance TTU’s robust innovation ecosystem 

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Cameron Smith, MEng, JD, CLP 

Intellectual Property Director

Smith is a licensed Patent Attorney with experience in intellectual property asset protection and management and is a Certified Licensing Professional with technology transfer and licensing expertise.

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Katie Lewis, PhD 

Testbeds Lead

Dr. Lewis's research interests include soil fertility, biogeochemical cycling, sustainable crop production, soil microbiology, environmental reclamation, and organic soil amendments. 

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Sungwon Shin, PhD

Educational Consultant and K-12 Curriculum Expert

Dr. Shin is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Texas Tech University 

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Lizanne DeStefano, PhD 

EWD Co-Director; DCI Co-Director 

Dr. DeStefano is engaged in efforts that improve the quality of teaching and the student experience, such as the Commission on Creating the Next in Education. She is a former special education teacher and a clinical and school psychologist. 

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Jessica Spott, PhD 

EWD Co-Director; DCI Co-Director 

Dr. Spott's background is in educational psychology, Spanish and communications. She is deeply involved in hosting programs that integrate and support women and minorities within STEM disciplines. 

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Lauren Biddlecombe

EWD Co-Director; DCI Co-Director 

Biddlecombe has more than 15 years of experience in innovating new programs and initiatives and works across sectors with partners in nonprofit, for-profit, and government organizations. 

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Katherine Milla, PhD

EWD Co-Director; DCI Co-Director 

Dr. Milla is a professor of geology and geospatial technologies in the Center for Water Resources at Florida A&M University 

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