Maria Okuniewski

Maria Okuniewski

Associate Professor of Materials Engineering/Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering (Courtesy Appointment)

Contact Information

Office: ARMS 2311
Phone: +1 765 49-46406
School of Materials Engineering
Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering
701 West Stadium Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2045


  • B. S., Biology Biology and Marine Science, University of Tampa, 1994
  • M.S., Nuclear Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004
  • Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008

Employment History

  • Assistant Professor, Materials Engineering Purdue University, 2016 - present
  • Assistant Professor of Nuclear Engineering, Courtesy Appointment, Purdue University, 2017 - present
  • Research & Development Scientist and Nuclear Engineer, Idaho National Laboratory, Fuel Performance and Design, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 2008 – 2016
  • Adjunct Faculty, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics, Idaho State University, Idaho, 2013 – 2015
  • Laboratory Manager / Research Scientist, Clean Energy Technologies, Inc., Florida, 1996 – 1998
  • Laboratory Manager / Biologist, Bio Lab of Florida, Florida, 1994 -1996

Research Interests

The over-arching goals of Dr. Okuniewski's research focus on understanding the connections between the microstructure of nuclear materials and fuels and their mechanical properties. The microstructural evolution is studied as a function of radiation damage and/or fabrication and processing of the nuclear systems. This research aims to connect phenomena that span multiple spatial (atomistic to mesoscale) and temporal (picoseconds to seconds) scales. Her research utilizes both experimental and modeling techniques in a complementary fashion. She has also been instrumental in developing new techniques and expanding the capabilities of existing techniques to apply to nuclear fuels and materials such as positron annihilation spectroscopy, nanoindentation, synchrotron X-ray diffraction and tomography, neutron diffraction, and focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy applications.

Maria Okuniewski Research Interests

Selected Publications

Undergraduate Students

  • Jennah Bari
  • Lily Caits
  • Alexis Walker