The DC/MD/NoVa Section of The American Ceramic Society encompasses the following areas:

Washington DC: All eight wards

Maryland Counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Queen Annes, Saint Marys, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester

Northern Virginia Counties: Albemarle, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William

Section Officers:

Co Chair: Victoria Blair, US Army Research Laboratory

Co Chair: Ed Gorzkowski, Naval Research Laboratory

Secretary: Lavina Backman, Naval Research Laboratory

Treasurer: Brian Donovan, US Naval Academy

If you would like to contact any of the Washington DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia officers, visit the ACerS online membership directory for contact details.  You must be a member to access the directory. Or contact Karen McCurdy at for assistance.

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The Washington DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia Section seeks input and volunteers

The Washington DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia section is expanding activities to further engage all local section members.

In order to foster better networking within section members, provide leadership opportunities and support the students in our section, we have formed new committees with in the section:

Industry engagement
Student engagement
Activity planning
Nominating committee

The section seeks volunteers for the committees, as well as members willing to step into leadership roles.

For 2022, the section plans to provide programming that includes greater networking opportunities.

If you would like sharpen your leadership skills and build your community of area professionals, please reach out to the current section chairs, Victoria BlairEd Gorzkowski, or secretary, Lavina Backman.

Section awards MS&T conference registraitons

Congratulations to University of Virginia PhD students Clark Luckhardt and Mackenzie Ridley for being awarded MS &T conference registrations by the Washington DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia Section.


Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland Section plans meet and greet

The section gathered virtually on June 16, 2021. The Meet and Greet was an opportunity to network and share ideas until in person meetings can begin again.

Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland Section hosts networking event in conjunction with Material Advantage Congressional Visits Day

The Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland section hosted a virtual networking event on Thursday, April 22 as part of the Congressional Visits Day. CVD is an opportunity for MA students to educate Congress about the importance of research in material sciences, engineering, and manufacturing. 
The networking event was followed by a presentation by Dr. Eric Van Gieson, DARPA, Advances in Personal Protection (PPE) Strategies and Technologies, sponsored by ASM International.


High entropy environmental barrier coatings

The Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland Section co hosted the February Frontiers in Ceramics Webinar, "High entropy environmental barrier coatings" on February 17, 2021..

Professor Elizabeth Opila (University of Virginia) presented the thermal, thermomechanical, and thermochemical properties of high entropy rare earth silicates and oxides with an emphasis on application as environmental barrier coatings.


Elizabeth Opila is a professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center for Advanced Materials Systems at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she has been since 2010. Prior to that, she held the position of materials research engineer at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH for 19 years where she worked primarily on ceramics for applications in turbine engines, rocket engines, hot structures for thermal protections systems, and other power and propulsion applications. She has worked on environmental barrier coatings since their inception in 1995. Her current research focus includes understanding thermodynamic and kinetic mechanisms for material degradation in extreme environments, development of life prediction methodology based on understanding of fundamental chemical reaction mechanisms, and materials development for protection of materials from extreme environments. Additional research areas of interest include defect chemistry of functional oxides.


"Determining the Mechanical Properties of Ceramics and Glasses"

Over 30 material science professionals virtually joined Dr. Jeffrey Swab on September 30, 2020 for the webinar, "Determining the Mechanical Properties of Ceramics and Glasses". Dr. Swab's presentation is available at this link. Thank you Dr. Swab for sharing your knowledge and expertise!

Jeffrey J. Swab is a senior ceramic engineer and team leader with the US Army Research Laboratory.  He began his career with the Army in 1983 as a junior engineer after receiving a BS in ceramic science and engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.  He subsequently received a MS and PhD in materials science and engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and SUNY - Stony Brook, respectively.  Jeff spent 20 months as a guest researcher at the NIST as well as 2 years teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Dr. Swab has been a member of the American Ceramic Society since 1982 and is a member of the Engineering Ceramics Division and the Glass and Optical Materials Division.  He is one of the original architects and lead organizers of the highly successful armor ceramics symposium held in conjunction with the International Conference & Exposition on Advanced Ceramics & Composites meeting.  He is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and received the ECD Global Star.