Having always had an interest in science, Diane Mary Vanderwalker, PhD, first earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston College in 1977. Joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her graduate studies, she found her niche in material sciences, particularly precipitation in materials with transmission electron microscopy, and obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in 1981. Following this accomplishment, she spent time at the University of Oxford as a NATO postdoctoral fellow from 1981 to 1982. Throughout these years, she was greatly inspired by the people she was working with and the professors she studied under.
Embarking on her career as an assistant professor at Stony Brook University in 1983, Dr. Vanderwalker was motivated throughout her career by her desire to excel and to publish her research findings. During her time at Stony Brook, she discovered a number of topics she wanted to publish on while preparing for her courses. In particular, she found that going to back to the basics was a good idea while she was doing research and teaching at the same time.
In 1986, she joined the U.S. Army Materials Technology Laboratory, now the Army Research Laboratory, as a materials research engineer, where she used electron microscopy to study dislocations and phase transformation in various materials. She greatly enjoyed seeing how her studies developed during her time at the laboratory, as her duties ranged from making lab specimens to working with the transmission electron microscope and writing reports. She retired from the field in 1994.
Dr. Vanderwalker stands out in her field for the quality of her research results and analysis, and she has cultivated a legacy as someone who excelled in her research studies and publications. With her work being published frequently in professional journals throughout her career, some of her notable papers are “Fracture in Titanium Diboride” and “Hydride Formation on Dislocations in Titanium” in 1989; “The Dependence of Li Phase Nucleation on the Structure of Partial Dislocations in Silicon” in 1985; and “The Influence of Cu on Dislocation Motion in Si,” “A Dark-Field TEM Method for Crystal Structure Determination of Cu-Rich Phases on Twins in Silicon” and “The Nucleation of Ni Silicides on Dislocations in Twins in Silicon” in 1984. She has also published several short notes, including “The Effect of Doping on the Motion of Partial Dislocations in Silicon” in 1985 and “Hydrides on Dislocations in Silicon” in 1986.
Alongside her primary career responsibilities, Dr. Vanderwalker also contributed her skills to a number of other professional endeavors. She previously proffered her expertise as a consultant to IBM in Yorktown Heights, New York, and spent a number of years affiliated with the New York Academy of Sciences. A particular moment she will never forget is the time she was invited by the American Ceramic Society — where she was not a member — to speak on her study of fracture in titanium diboride. It was the largest audience she had ever spoken in front of. Above everything, her favorite part of her work was always when she would get results on the transmission electron microscope.
For excellence in her career, Dr. Vanderwalker has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Named a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional, she has previously been featured in multiple editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who of American Women. While she has been widely lauded for her accomplishments, Dr. Vanderwalker considers her greatest achievement to be her publications. She feels incredibly proud to have made such valuable contributions to her field.
Dr. Vanderwalker was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to father Wallace Vanderwalker and mother Mary Wrzesien. Her family also includes her sister, niece, and her brother, who went into a different field of engineering and works as a microwave engineer designing periscopes. In her free time, Dr. Vanderwalker cultivates her hobby of oil painting.