Syreeta D. Vaughn (’05, ’13)

Category: Alumni Promise | Awards

2019 Alumni Promise Award Winner

Syreeta Vaughn is a nuclear safety specialist at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In her work, she identifies hazards, establishes safety controls, and is responsible for developing and implementing training and safety programs for numerous projects and hundreds of employees.

In 2005, Vaughn became the first African American woman to graduate with an earth and planetary science degree from UT. She focused this first MS on geology and returned to UT to earn a second MS in industrial engineering in 2013, adding two graduate diplomas to her BS in geological and earth sciences from Florida State University.

Vaughn is an active community member and currently serves as vice president of the Knoxville Area Urban League Young Professionals, an organization she has worked with for more than 10 years, serving as both president and vice president. She is a corresponding secretary for Alpha Kappa Alpha and is a member of the Jack and Jill of America program, which nurtures African American children through leadership development, service, and civic duty. In her spare time, she mentors young professional engineers and high school students interested in STEM careers.

Also active at UT, Vaughn was appointed to the UT Advisory Board by Governor Bill Haslam in 2018. As part of the board, she provides input on planning and budgeting for the Knoxville campus, ensuring manageable growth for years to come.

Vaughn was named one of Knoxville’s “40 Under 40” in 2013 and has been awarded the title of top engineer within her division by the Consolidated Nuclear Security management team. In 2016, she was featured in “Without Limits,” a TedxKnoxville talk.