News Release

ORNL engineer Karen White honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Grant and Award Announcement

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ORNL engineer Karen White honored with  ICALEPCS Lifetime Achievement Award


ORNL engineer Karen White honored with  ICALEPCS Lifetime Achievement Award

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Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL,U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Karen White, who works in ORNL’s Neutron Science Directorate, has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

White, who manages the section that provides the machine controls,, computing infrastructure, and protection systems across all neutron science technical areas, received the award during the biennial International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems, held October 7-13, 2013, in Cape Town, South Africa. The award by ICALEPCS honors and celebrates an individual or individuals who throughout their careers have made exceptional, invaluable and lasting contributions to the field of control systems for large experimental physics facilities.

“For more than 20 years, I’ve been privileged to help organize ICALEPCS to provide a forum for collaborative control systems development and promote standardization of hardware and software for control systems for accelerators and other experimental physics facilities,” said White, section head for the Control Systems at ORNL. “We’ve done so primarily by providing a forum for controls engineers worldwide to share ideas and learn from each other while publishing papers to document progress on technologies that can change quickly.

“While there are a number of collaborative solutions in use, my work has primarily supported the development of accelerator control systems built using the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS) software, which provides the framework – or toolkit – that enables governing a wide range of controls systems at physics facilities around the world, including ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source.”

Control systems generally include system components and functions, such as processors, interfaces, networks, system and application software, databases, and more, as well as the associated engineering, implementation and project budgeting and management.

“Karen is well known throughout the accelerators and large experimental physics control systems community. Over the course of her distinguished career, she has been an inspirational and guiding force, thoughtful mentor, outstanding leader, exemplary manager and thoughtful colleague,” said Andy Goetz, executive committee chair for ICALEPCS. “Her many contributions to operations and the numerous projects in which she participated and led have repeatedly demonstrated that her excellence goes beyond her roles while working at accelerator laboratories.”

Equally important, White has long been at the forefront of the movement toward inclusion and diversity in the controls field and the scientific community as a whole.

“ICALEPCS has provided a platform from which I can facilitate diversity and inclusion by connecting with and mentoring students and young engineers. I now consider my role in promoting and supporting minority and women’s participation in STEM careers just as important as any other role I’ve had in my career,” White added.

Her engagement in her home community in eastern Tennessee further demonstrates her character and determination to make a positive impact. White has been a member at large for ORNL’s “Women in Neutron Science” initiative, a mentor for high school girls in Tennessee’s “tnAchieves” program, and a board member for the Michael Dunn Center, a non-profit that supports people with intellectual disabilities.

White holds an MS in Computer Science from Old Dominion University and an ME in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

The International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems (ICALEPCS) is a biennial series of conferences inaugurated by a number of control system specialists from accelerator laboratories around the world. The next event will take place in 2025 in Chicago, Illinois, USA and will be hosted by the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.

Contact the ICALEPCS Executive Committee at for further information concerning the ICALEPCS series.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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