Dr. Backman is a Materials Engineer and Karles Fellow in the Spacecraft Engineering Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. She completed her Ph.D. at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at the University in Virginia (UVA) in May 2020. Her dissertation focused on the oxidation behavior of high entropy ultra-high temperature ceramics. She continues to specialize in the development and characterization of ultra-high temperature materials for extreme environments. She was a Virginia Space Grant Consortium Fellow from 2017-2019 and a co-recipient of UVA MSE’s Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf Outstanding Graduate Student Award in May 2020. The award recognizes exemplary research contributions and advancement of the materials science and engineering academic mission. Additionally, Backman was inducted into the Raven Society at UVA, an honor society recognizing academic and service excellence.

She earned a Master’s in Materials Science and Engineering from UVA and a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. Before graduate school, she worked as an associate manufacturing engineer then a mechanical design engineer for surgical devices.

Backman enjoys participating in STEM outreach and being involved in her research communities, particularly the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) community. She currently serves as the section secretary for the DC/MD/VA section, where she helps organize events for the section. For most of her graduate career, Backman was actively involved in UVA MSE’s Graduate Student Board and with ACerS’ President’s Council of Student Advisors, serving on the outreach (which she led in her first year) and communication subcommittees, and as a liaison to the Basic Science Division.