Research Informed by Integrity and Ethics

2022 Achievement Award Remarks
Tina M. Nenoff, Ph.D.
Sandia National Laboratories

Hello, my name is Tina Nenoff. I am honored by being awarded the Society of Women Engineers 2022 Achievement Award. I thank the organization and its members for this great honor. I also need to thank my family, close friends, and work associates around the world who have been my support, my mentors, and close collaborators. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

I am also very honored to have been educated and trained in some of the most accomplished chemistry labs in the United States. I received a B.A. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in chemistry. While an undergraduate student, I performed basic research in the lab of Professor Alan MacDiarmid, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. I received a University of California President’s Fellowship to attend the UC Santa Barbara (paid to live at the beach), but where I also obtained my M.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry under the guidance of Professor Galen D. Stucky.

My research focused on the structure-property relationships of novel crystalline inorganic molecular sieves. During my Ph.D., I undertook an internship at DuPont’s Experimental Station, then the premier chemistry and chemical engineering R&D industrial lab in the United States. My investigations there into the industrial testing of my research materials enabled the unique experience of rapidly moving my R&D from basic to applied research and ultimately to commercialization in a short time span.

My diverse programs require diverse participants, including both in-house and outside collaborators of chemists, engineers, and computational modelers from national laboratories, universities, and industry.

I am now a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I have worked since 1993. I am grateful to the labs for allowing me the creativity to translate fundamental chemistry and materials to applications that benefit society and the environment worldwide. My research in nanoporous materials has a strong focus on exploring and understanding the chemistry of confinement and reactivity of ions and molecules in nanoporous materials for environmental cleanup and energy-efficient industry.

My team and I use a combination of computational materials design with materials science and characterization that has enabled great breakthroughs and at rapid research speeds. Uniquely, my research spans technology readiness levels 1 through 9, covering basic to applied research areas of materials synthesis, characterization, and testing and then transitioning via industrial partners and IP licensing to the commercial scale.

Integrity and ethics are at the core of my R&D beliefs. I have used them to guide my own research and that of the people I mentor. This core belief has been recognized by Sandia’s leadership; I am a team member of Sandia’s chief research officer’s office of research and development integrity team, which has been tasked with establishing laboratories-wide guidance for data collection, recording and retention, peer review, publications, and anti-plagiarism guidelines. I strongly feel that this is one of my most important legacies at Sandia.

Another core belief I bring to my research is the reliance on the strong interactions of interdisciplinary team members working in concert. My diverse programs require diverse participants, including both in-house and outside collaborators of chemists, engineers, and computational modelers from national laboratories, universities, and industry. This has enabled me to provide a great deal of mentorship to postdocs, young staff, and collaborating young professors. It has also enabled me to strongly support the guidance of women and minorities into the sciences at national laboratories, universities, and industry.

In conclusion, I again want to thank SWE for the honor of awarding me the 2022 Achievement Award. I also want to dearly thank my family, my friends and mentors, and my colleagues for helping make my career a success. I hope my example of leadership in multiple scientific and engineering communities will continue to guide and impact research on the betterment of society.