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Two new team members recently joined the University of Tennessee Research Foundation. UTRF is happy to welcome Gabriela Miu Kropaczek as an Assistant Technology Manager and Caitlin Gaddis as the new Marketing Coordinator. Both bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to their respective roles.

Born in Romania but raised in Sweden, Kropaczek earned her doctorate in theoretical particle physics from Lund University, where her research focused on the development of computer simulation programs for electron-proton and neutron-proton scattering experiments. After graduation, she worked for several years in Paris, France, most notably at France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. In Paris, she met her husband, an American, and moved to North Carolina around 10 years ago where she began raising their two children and launched and ran a successful small business: a gourmet chocolate shop.

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When her husband accepted a job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Kropaczek and her family moved to Knoxville, where she began volunteering with a bi-partisan climate advocacy group and later applied to work at UTRF after reading about the position on Teknovation.biz.

“What connects everything is that I am mission-driven. Whatever I do, I want it to have meaning,” says Kropaczek. “Whether volunteering in climate advocacy work or being close to research and helping commercialize innovation, I want my work to have an impact.”

With her diverse career background, Kropaczek is excited to bring her insight as a researcher, and as a small business owner to her work at UTRF. There, she will assist in the commercialization of technologies developed by inventors from the University of Tennessee’s Tickle College of Engineering in the areas of material sciences, advanced manufacturing and composite technologies.

“I know how researchers work and think. I have leadership experience with innovative projects. I have stayed close to this world and have a broad understanding of varied fields of research,” says Kropaczek. “I’m looking forward to contributing to UTRF’s amazing mission, especially the one about helping grow economic development here in East Tennessee.”

When she’s not working, Kropaczek enjoys being in nature, traveling, getting involved in her community and spending time with friends and family, especially her two children.

“I’m currently relearning American history with them,” she laughs. “Seeing them grow and learn is very exciting.”

Gaddis is from the greater Knoxville area and returned to the community after graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University, where she studied strategic communications and writing. After working as a creative coordinator at a local church for a few months, she was excited to come across a job posting for a Marketing Coordinator at UTRF.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is CG-headshot-1024x1024.png“I have always dreamed of working at a university, so I was thrilled to start a position with UTRF,” says Gaddis. “I want to be around the people who are shaping the minds of future leaders and who are on the forefront of cutting-edge technologies and ideas.”
Although she doesn’t have a background in commercialization, Gaddis is excited to learn more about the field. At UTRF, she will be responsible for the organization’s marketing needs ranging from social media management to graphic design and event planning.
“I enjoy being in an environment where I am challenged every day to learn new things,” says Gaddis. “So far, I have been given many opportunities to connect with people in our community and get the pulse of Tennessee’s entrepreneurial community and the innovation happening across the state. It’s a fast-paced, exciting environment and being able to work with such a brilliant team is fantastic.”

Outside of work, Gaddis enjoys reading, traveling and spending time outdoors. As a coffee enthusiast, she frequents local coffee shops and met her fiancé at a coffee shop where she worked during her undergraduate program.

“We are pleased to bring on two new team members to help further UTRF’s mission and advance UT innovations,” says UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy. “Gabriela and Caitlin offer new and dynamic perspectives to our work. We’re excited to have them on the UTRF team.”