Maria Curry-Nkansah started at NREL in 2019 and is a senior research advisor and lead for the NREL Circular Economy for Energy Materials-Advanced Energy Materials strategic initiative. She is responsible for leading short- and long-range planning and implementation for projects that promote a closed-loop system for increased resiliency, durability, and recovery of critical materials, components, and devices for low-carbon intensity technologies. Prior to NREL, she spent 6 years as the chief operating officer for Argonne National Laboratory’s physical sciences and engineering directorate with 800 staff and $150 million in annual funding. Her role included oversight of fiscal, IT, and human resource management; major infrastructure planning; safety and quality assurance; driving safe, cost-effective, and efficient research; and development operations.
Curry-Nkansah also served as the co-lead for U.S. Department of Energy Former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz’s 2016 National Lab Science Day. She was a former co-chair for the $2 billion Department of Energy’s FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, as well as an original founder of the Argonne ACT-SO High School Research Program, created in 2013.
Additionally, Curry-Nkansah has over 20 years of experience in scientific R&D and product development, including 14 years at BP and 5 years at Rohm and Haas (now Dow). Other career roles have included senior research scientist, group leader, market development manager, and business development manager. She holds three patents and has given more than 30 technical presentarions. Her awards include the Argonne National Laboratory Pinnacle of Education Award; the Egretha Award; and the Argonne Pacesetter Award.
Curry-Nkansah is a former board member of the Hydrogen Education Foundation and the Naperville Indian Prairie School District 204, and is a member of the DuPage County ACT-SO Executive Steering Committee. She is also the proud mother of Asare, a computer scientist, and Abbey, a materials science major at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Curry-Nkansah has and continues to devote her energies in increasing the participation of young African Americans in the fields of STEM, which is part of her passionate contribution to social justice.
Ph.D., Physical Inorganic Chemistry, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MBA, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill