Elizabeth Newton, Ph.D., became the Director of the Battelle Center full-time in 2017. She brings to the position years of experience in for-profit, non-profit, and civil service roles.

She has worked in leadership roles at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, NASA, and government services companies, as well as co-founded a commercial software company. Her experiences enable her to lead strategy, planning, partnerships, proposals, advocacy, and research operations and to manage programs, budgets, and events.

Early in her career, Elizabeth interned at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, Switzerland. Elizabeth earned advanced degrees in political science and solar astrophysics while studying at Cornell University, l’Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales, University of California, Berkeley, and University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has been recognized as a Cornell National Scholar, Maryland Distinguished Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, Congressional Jacob K. Javits Fellow, P.E.O. Scholar, Naval Research Laboratory post-doctoral fellow, and NASA Principal Investigator.

Her community service and non-profit board leadership has focused on creating educational opportunities, especially for girls.


Our organizational model for developing talent and valuable research

Through SCOPE, the Battelle Center’s Student Community Of Practice and Engagement (SCOPE) model, we are actively helping students’ pivot from a student-stance to their professional footing.

Our SCOPEs create connections between students’ interests and the broader environment in which they are pursued. In the process, we hope to foster graduates who demonstrate systems-thinking and the “6C’s” of education: Cultural awareness/Cosmopolitanism, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Character.

Each student community is centered on a topic of national and international importance, such as:
  • Space Innovations
  • China’s Rise: Science, Engineering, and Innovation
  • Emerging Threats/Disease at the Human-Nature Interface
  • Energy Transitions.
The students bring their curiosity and passion for a topic, and we help them refine and lead research with important national policy considerations and results they can deliver to professional audiences.

Each SCOPE involves an integrative theme, persistent projects, and key faculty anchors who partner with Battelle Center to cost-share, collaborate on proposals, co-advise student research, and advocate for transformational student experiences. I am most grateful to Prof. Marjorie K. M. Chan, director of the Institute for Chinese Studies, Prof. John M. Horack, Armstrong Chair for Aerospace Policy, Prof. Caroline Wagner, and Prof. Jeffrey M. Bielicki for investing themselves in this inaugural role.

Our goal is for students to produce quality research and analysis that are not only defined by their individual passions and curiosity but are highly relevant to current events and valuable to decision-makers. I am grateful to the many people outside the university who have validated the value of students’ lines of inquiry.

Our SCOPEs entail more than student-led research, however. They are intentionally multi-disciplinary and integrative, because graduates need fluency in the context of their chosen industry, as much as the content of their degree.

Battelle Center provides a place to combine disciplines — just one integration solution to balance a university’s expansiveness and departmentalization. In Battelle Center’s SCOPEs, we address domains’ technical AND non-technical dimensions and muster conversations, connections, special guests, international interactions, book salons/discussions, and civic engagements to challenge and enrich students’ thinking, regardless of field of study.

We also provide professional skills training and coaching that most of us did not receive until we were 1, 5, or even 10 years into our career so that The Ohio State University’s talent is graduating that much further ahead. Our coaching and training creates differentiators for the students and hopefully dispel the very natural anxieties associated with becoming a young professional. Who doesn’t want to know about: how to network and break-the-ice in professional social settings; conflict management; job-hunting; ethics and integrity; team-leadership; negotiation/self-advocacy; traveling abroad; effective presentations; handling professional mistakes and failures, and sustaining customer-focus?

Each of us at The Ohio State University contributes in our own way to sending students into the wider world, prepared to add value and gain experience as young professionals. Considering our increasingly interconnected societies, we hope to enable students to be curious learners for the rest of their lives, capable of adapting and broadening the value they add as the world changes. Battelle Center’s SCOPEs set students on this path to professionalism with some competitive advantages.

Curiosity-driven approaches to Complex ‘Systems’

Battelle Center’s SCOPEs entail exciting, integrative themes that address the U.S.’s place in the 21st century:
  • Space Innovations
  • China’s Rise
  • Energy Transitions
  • Emerging Disease/Threats at the Human-Nature Interface.
Across the themes, consistent questions emerge:
  • How does exploring “up there” [in space] make things better “down here” [on Earth]?
  • How do cultures approach differently science, engineering, and innovation?
  • How does international “Leadership” vary with the context in which it’s required?
  • How can visualization of complex data clarify the policy choices we have before us?
  • How do law and policy balance competition and cooperation?
  • How do societies adapt to change?