She graduated with a Ph.D. in materials engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in 2013 and B.A. in physics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 2008. She began her career at NASA as a Research Materials Engineer in the Ceramic and Polymer Composites Branch at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2014 after completing a Pathways Internship as a Ph.D. student. Prior to graduate school, she was an assistant English language teacher and translator for the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education in Japan.
Valerie has co-authored 27 publications, including 17 peer-reviewed articles, and 60 technical conference and seminar presentations. She has received various awards, including the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Associate Administrator High Potentials Award and Engineers’ Council Distinguished Future Technology Leader Award.
Within The American Ceramic Society (ACerS), she serves as Chair-Elect of the Engineering Ceramics Division and member of the Strategic Planning and Emerging Opportunities and Member Services Committees. Her past ACerS involvement includes serving as chair of and ACerS’ representative to the Materials Advantage Committee, member of the Education and Professional Development Council and Books Sub-Committee and mentor to the President’s Council of Student Advisers Recruitment Committee. She also served as Vice-Chair of the Northeast Ohio Section. In addition to chairing the 44th International Conference and Exposition on Advanced Ceramics and Composites in 2020, she has organized numerous technical symposia and workshops at international conferences.
Her current research efforts focus on developing ceramic materials for applications in extreme environments, ranging from hypersonic flight to lunar and planetary surface operations.