Parents inspired qualities shaping ‘Lizzie’ finalist Ezell

Motivation and selflessness, qualities obtained from her parents, are what Dr. Dianne

Bull Ezell of Farragut pointed to while trying to explain her nomination as an East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit Award Finalist.

“My dad always motivated me and kept technology as something interesting. My mom always reminded me about the importance of being selfless and giving back to my community,” Ezell, a research and development engineer for UT/Battelle, LLC at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said about Thomas and Beverly Bull.

“Both of them really influenced me and they’re a big part of why I’m even nominated for this,” Ezell added.

Among her current work is a global project involving particle acceleration and collision, with the goal “of understanding the building blocks of the universe. It is modeling The Big Bang. It goes all the way back to the creation of energy,” she said.

One of three finalist — all with Farragut ties — Ezell will look to claim the Lizzie Crozier French Award, nicknamed “The Lizzie,” during the ETWLS annual ceremony, Friday, June 9, at Airport Hilton in Alcoa.

“I was really kind of surprised when I received the notification that I was nominated and being considered as a finalist,” Ezell said. “I went to the site and looked up past-years winners and I thought, ‘wow, these women are so empowering and have done so much for our community.’ They’re in a class of their own and I don’t feel like I am remotely near them when it comes to what they’ve done for the women in the community.

“It’s such an honor to even be considered.”

Stressing the need to be “passionate” about your profession, “Working in the technology field that I am in, you can see how it will impact the general public, working in the energy efficiency side of research,” Ezell said. “We’re all trying to continue to make people’s lives better and easier.

“We’re trying to get power to places that don’t have the luxuries that we have in the United States,” Ezell added. “It’s all about, really, the impact that we have on our community, local and international. That’s what I enjoy most about the research that I work on.

“I really enjoy the idea of the instrumentation side of engineering because it has a good application and you can apply it across a lot of different fields of study. I currently work in nuclear instrumentation, but in the past I’ve worked with hydroelectrical vehicle technology, high-energy physics, biological applications, biomedical instrumentation.”

About her current work, “Probably one of my most exciting and well known programs is ALICE, and that stands for A Large Ion Collider Experiment,” Ezell said. “And that is a collaboration at CERN, which is over in Geneva, Switzerland. It’s a high-energy physics program that [the Europeans] started. I can’t even list how many countries are involved with CERN itself.

“The whole idea of this is a particle accelerator. They have specific sites at which the particles collide,” Ezell added. “And ALICE is one of those sites. We are outfitting the instrumentation that will help model what is actually happening at those collisions.

“On our project we’ve got people from Italy, people from Germany, people from Mexico, people from Japan. It’s a huge collaboration.”

Part of something big while in college, “When I was in undergraduate and graduate school I worked on program that was using an integrated circuit that measured the luminescence that came off a bacteria,” Ezell said. “We collaborated with a group at UT that grew and developed this bacteria that would glow. And the idea of it was, you could inject a person with this bacteria and it would detect cancer, making the cancer glow.

“Using our censors, you could identify and pinpoint cancer versus having exploratory surgery,” she added. “… I think that’s the biggest impact project I’ve ever worked on.”

With a heart for those younger and less experienced in her field, “I want to see someone who comes in and works under me leave and feel impacted,” Ezell said. “I think people notice that. I work with a lot of high school students such as the FIRST Robotics programs.”

Although never having worked with Farragut High School’s Flagship 3140 FIRST Robotics team, “I plan to, I would like to. I literally live just right down the road,” Ezell, a Sweetbriar subdivision resident, said. “It would be pretty convenient to help them.”

Her husband, Matt Ezell, “works on super computers here at ORNL,” Ezell said.