After graduating from the University of Florida in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Dr. Aaron L. Washington, II completed his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry with specialization in material science. As of April 2009, Dr. Washington joined the Advanced Characterization and Processing (ACP) group at SRNL and is currently a principal scientist and former manager in the same group. He is currently involved with material development for multiple applications including radiological sensors, nuclear waste storage, additive manufacturing for nuclear material disposal, nuclear Deactivation & Decommissioning (D&D), organic based nuclear sensors, and nuclear waste treatment strategies. Additionally, he recently led a group with 3 post-doctoral researchers (3 former postdocs are now full time), 7 peer PhD scientists, a bachelor’s scientist, 3 managers, and 2-4 interns in interdisciplinary research and program development. Dr. Washington has more than 20+ peer reviewed manuscripts, 30+ technical reports, and more than 15 presentations at national conferences and meetings. Dr. Washington also has 4 patents issued and 7 additional patents currently in process. Dr. Washington was a 2014 recipient of the Laboratory Director’s Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement and the 2016 Laboratory Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement. Dr. Washington has also recently received his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification as of July 2017.
Dr. Washington currently serves on multiple committees both at SRNL and in the Aiken community. These include the Conduct of R&D safety council, Diversity Board of Directors for SRNS, and the former Board of Directors Chairman and current member for Habitat for Humanity. He is an also an Adjunct Professor at USC Aiken in the chemistry department.
Dr. Brenda L. Garcia-Diaz is the manager of the Energy Materials Group in SRNL. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Carolina with a specialization in electrochemical engineering. She has developed Nb-doped TiO2 electrocatalysts and developed models to better understand DMFC operation. Dr. Garcia-Diaz helped develop electrochemical synthesis methods for aluminum hydride. She has worked on novel electrochemical methods for nuclear fuel processing including the development of an electrochemical fluorination method for processing used nuclear fuel, direct LiT electrolysis for tritium recovery in fusion applications, and reduction of oxide nuclear fuels utilizing a solid oxide conducting anode. Dr. Garcia-Diaz is the principal investigator on a DOE SunShot program to investigate and mitigate corrosion in high temperature molten salt heat transfer systems for concentrating solar power (CSP) applications. She is the molten salt corrosion consultant to NREL for the development of a Gen 3 CSP system. Dr. Garcia-Diaz has also led research on the development of MAX phase coatings for accident tolerant nuclear fuel. She has led collaborations with multiple industrial partners, universities, and national laboratories.
Dr. Garcia-Diaz was awarded the ASM International Silver Award, the South Carolina Governor’s Young Researcher award, and the SRNL Early Career Award. In 2018, her project on electrochemical fluorination also won the inaugural SRNL award for LDRD return on investment. Dr. Garcia-Diaz serves as a Board Member for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers RAPID program for process intensification. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina in the Chemical Engineering Department. Dr. Garcia-Diaz is a member of the Hanford Tank Integrity Expert Panel.
He completed his academic education at the University of Genoa in Genoa, Italy (bachelor’s and master’s in electronics engineering and a doctorate in electrical engineering) then awarded a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fellowship for a post-doctoral appointment at the University of California at Berkeley in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. He conducted research in support of the U.S. Department of Energy fusion program starting at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at Science Application International Corporation, involved in modeling and simulation and high-performance computing. He then worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center in the Shuttle, Constellation, and International Space Station programs focusing on both hardware and software research and development (R&D) in plasma propulsion, electromagnetic compatibility, and space power systems. During that time, he also developed academic liaisons at University of Houston - Clear Lake as an adjunct professor then research assistant professor in the Physics Department. He also served as a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute in the Power Delivery and Utilization sector, and as chief scientist at NPL Associates Inc., a small firm focused in plasma and nuclear technologies. More recently, he joined the senior R&D staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division.