Rising Technical Contributor Award

Claire Wemp, Ph.D.


For deep technical expertise in thermal management and heat transfer; for strong organizational skills that have increased engineering laboratory efficiency; and for consistent outreach and community engagement in STEM.

Claire Wemp, Ph.D., is a thermal application engineer at the DuPont Silicon Valley Technology Center in Sunnyvale, California. She works with customers and in the lab to support materials testing related to thermal and mechanical applications.

Dr. Wemp received her first design patent as a senior at Santa Clara University for a ceramic concentrated solar power receiver, which began her fascination with heat transfer. Funding from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship supported her doctoral studies in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research at UC Berkeley focused on designing and growing nanostructures on metal surfaces to enhance evaporation heat transfer when water was sprayed on the surface.

She also spent a summer learning about thermal management through working with the Google platforms team, which designs servers for Google’s massive data centers. This academic and industry knowledge served her well once she joined DuPont, where she started out as DuPont’s only applications engineer with a heat transfer specialty in the Bay Area and one of only a handful in the entire company.

Dr. Wemp’s specialty in thermal management and heat transfer is a unique asset to DuPont as there is growing interest in how DuPont materials can solve thermal problems, but there has been a limited workforce with the correct expertise to tackle the practical engineering to solve such issues.

In her brief time at the technology center, Dr. Wemp developed relationships with key Bay Area partners to expand opportunities and has supported projects that have already resulted in one multimillion-dollar purchase order. She has influenced both lab culture and conduct and helped to overhaul the organizational work process as the facility expanded from three labs to 10. She is using her expertise to transform the labs into a hub of thermal characterization expertise, which is used by DuPont sites around the world for analysis and advice for expanding thermal capabilities at other facilities. Dr. Wemp has also been a key technical contributor to the recent merger of DuPont and Laird Performance Materials as it offers DuPont the opportunity to expand its thermal materials capabilities.

As an active member of the Society of Women Engineers, Dr. Wemp served for two years as the outreach chair for the student section at Santa Clara University and one year as vice president. The section’s high school outreach program, One Step Ahead, tripled in size under her leadership, from two high schools to four and from 10 to 30 girls out of 50 applicants. She also founded and served as an officer for the UC Berkeley GradSWE group from 2016 to 2018. For FY22-23, she will serve as the treasurer-elect of the SWE Santa Clara Valley Section.

Dr. Wemp is an avid musician and professional singer who frequently performs at weddings and other events with her husband, who plays piano. She is an ardent baker and chef and finds that her favorite way to de-stress at the end of the day is to prepare a delicious, homemade dinner.