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CICS Administration

The Center for Information and Communication is under general direction of the Director and Assistant Director.

Dr. Suzie AllardDr. Suzie Allard
Professor, Director and CCI Associate Dean for Research

423 Communications Building 
(865) 974-1369

Dr. Suzie Allard, in addition to her role as Director of CICS, is the Associate Dean for Research for the College of Communication and Information. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Kentucky, 2003; her Master of Science, Library and Information Science degree from the University of Kentucky, 1999; and her Bachelor of Arts, Economics, California State University, 1982. 

Dr. Allard is interested in how scientists and engineers use nd communicate information particularly in terms of international teams and virtual scientific organizations. She is also the recipient of the Library Journal’s 2013 Teaching Award. 

Jesse Cagwall

Jesse R Cragwall

Assistant Director

420B Communications Building (865) 974-7909

Jesse is a native East Tennessean that has served in the military for the last 14 years, as well as the nonprofit sector. Jesse holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Maryville College, as well as a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is married to the former Leslie Hardwick and they two daughters Ellie and Jillian. 

Beth Meko

Beth Meko

Grant Writer/Information Specialist

401A Communications Building
(865) 974-8589

Beth holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an M.S. in Information Science from the University of Tennessee. As Grant Writer/Information Specialist, she assists faculty members in all stages of writing, editing and submitting grant proposals. As the IRB internal review facilitator within the college, she provides guidance and support to faculty and students as they submit IRBs through the iMEDris system. 

Rachel VolentineRachel Volentine
User-Experience Lab Manager
230 Communications Building

(865) 974-9865

Rachel Volentine received a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Tennessee in 2010.  She has been the user-experience lab manager since August  2013.  She is responsible for scheduling, assisting, conducting, and training researchers in user-experience lab activities and research.

Karen Zach

Accounting Specialist III

420 Communications Building
(865) 974-2156

Karen Zach has a BS in Accounting from the University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC) and a Bachelor of Music from Dominican University of California. She also holds Tax Certificate from UMC. Karen volunteers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) during tax season with the Community Action Committee assisting taxpayers prepare their tax returns.  Prior to moving to Tennessee, Karen was an Outreach Specialist in the College of Professional Studies Continuing Education Office at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where she handled financial matters including  budgets, payroll and annual reports.

Natalie RiceNatalie Rice
Research Associate II 
Natalie M. Rice, Ph.D., Research Associate II, has been employed at the University of Tennessee’s Center for Information and Communication Studies (CICS) since 2018. She has more than a decade of professional experience in public opinion, media studies, and international policy.
Dr. Rice currently splits her time between conducting research for the Usability and Assessment Working Group of DataONE, a National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary environmental cyberinfrastructure project, and other projects related to disinformation and propaganda.  

Amy ForresterAmy Forrester

Research Associate II

Amy Forrester is a research associate in the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She currently leads relationship management for DataONE, a federated data network of environmental, ecological, and Earth observational data repositories. Amy started her career as a marine scientist before transitioning to the commercial information industry. After a 20-year tenure at CSA/Proquest, she graduated from the University of Tennessee with an MSIS. She is now involved in the expanding activities of information professionals, focusing on the collaborative ways in which data, communications, and access to information can solve problems.