Wendy R. Cieslak PhD

Hertz Fellow: Wendy R. Cieslak PhD

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Area of Study

Materials Engineering

Fellowship Years

1979 - 1983

Director Emeritus, Sandia National Laboratories

Wendy Cieslak, PhD, recently retired from Sandia National Laboratories, where she held the position of Principal Program Director for Nuclear Weapons Science & Technology. She was responsible for the programmatic stewardship of the technical foundations necessary for Sandia to perform its nuclear weapons mission today and into the future. Her immediate preceding job was as Materials Science & Technology Division Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her assignments included a variety of management positions, including a rotation to the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Dr. Cieslak began her technical staff career performing basic and applied corrosion research of metals, followed by about a decade of research and development in lithium battery technologies. For her work in this field, she was named a fellow of ASM, International. Altogether, she enjoyed a 30-year career at these laboratories in the time since earning her PhD and BS in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

A graduate Hertz Fellow, Dr. Cieslak was inducted to the Hertz Foundation Board of Directors in October 2008. She has been active in supporting the Foundation through interviewing prospective fellows, mentoring in-school fellows, and championing education in gender schema that has served to mitigate gender bias in the Hertz selection process. Currently, Dr. Cieslak is serving on the Hertz Fellowship and Program Council. Moreover, she pioneered the establishment of part-time employment at Sandia in 1989 so that she could continue her career while raising her daughters. Dr. Cieslak is an active mentor and coach, especially to women. Wendy performs regularly as a violinist in the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra and informal chamber ensembles.