MSE/NE's Okuniewski receives 2020 ANS Oestmann Professional Women's Achievement Award

Dr. Maria A. Okuniewski, assistant professor of materials engineering and nuclear engineering (by courtesy) at Purdue University, received the 2020 Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women's Achievement Award from the American Nuclear Society (ANS).
Photo of Maria A. Okuniewski
Maria A. Okuniewski

Okuniewski was chosen for the award based on her dedication to nuclear materials research and the education and professional development of young researchers in the field of nuclear materials science and engineering.

She received the award at the virtual American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting on November 16, 2020.

The Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award recognizes outstanding personal dedication and technical achievement by a woman in the fields of nuclear science, engineering, research, or education.

Okuniewski joined Purdue Materials Engineering in 2016. Prior to joining Purdue, she was a research and development scientist and engineer for eight years at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). She received her BS in Biology and Marine Science from the University of Tampa, her MS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She leads a research group [Nuclear Fuels and Materials Group (NuFaM)] composed of undergraduate students and graduate students. The overarching goals of Dr. Okuniewski's research focus on understanding the connections between the microstructure, processing, properties, and performance of nuclear materials and fuels. 

"I am very humbled by my colleagues in the nuclear materials community that have supported my nomination. Moreover, it is an honor to be recognized by the community as a researcher, educator, and mentor," said Okuniewski.

A member of the ANS since 1997, Okuniewski served as the first student representative elected to the executive committee for the Materials Science and Technology Division (MSTD) from 2007-2010. She was also elected to two more MSTD executive committee terms while at INL and Purdue University from 2010-2013 and 2017-2020, respectively. She also received the James F. Schumar Scholarship from the MSTD in 2006.

Learn more about Dr. Maria A. Okuniewski.

Source: Dr. Maria A. Okuniewski,, 765-494-6406