Maya Nilkant

Dr. Elise Fox - Savannah River National Lab

Blog Post created by Maya Nilkant on Jun 6, 2017

By Ean Warren


    Dr. Elise Fox has been an engineer with Savannah River National Laboratory since 2006. Her research has focused on chemical characterization of materials and grid integration of renewable energy technologies. Her projects involve energy production, either developing new materials for more efficient energy production, or understanding how materials behave during production. Her work has resulted in more than 25 peer‐reviewed journal articles, four book chapters, 29 published conference proceedings, two patents, and 15 successfully funded proposals.

     Her career started at College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She went on to get her M.S. and Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Chunshan Song, studying the role of metals and oxygen on ceria‐supported copper‐palladium bimetallic catalysts.

     Elise has been active in ACS affairs since moving to Aiken. She has been a member of  the Younger Chemists Committee and Committee on Environmental Improvement, and active in the Division on Energy & Fuels and the former Division on Petroleum Chemistry. She works
with Savannah River Local Section and has been Chair and Alternate‐Councilor, as well as Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and National Chemistry Week coordinator.

     She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work. While at College of Charleston, she was a Life Scholar. She was a Robert M. Graham Fellow at Penn State in 2001 and 2002 and travelled to Nagoya Japan as an NSF Travel Fellow. In graduate school, she received a Frank and Lucy Rusinko Fellowship in Fuel Science. She received travel awards in 2005 and 2008, one from the North American Catalysis Society, another from World University Network, and one from ACS Leadership Institute. She was awarded an Electrochemical Society    Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research, a WCC Lectureship Award, and an ACS Salute to Excellence from the Savannah River Local Section. In 2013, she was a vising lecturer to the Joint Center for Energy Research, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China.

     Elise is Mom to 8 year old budding scientist twins, Colin and Hannah. She agrees with Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she said that the most important decision you will ever make is who you choose to spend your life with. Having a supportive husband who isn’t afraid to step in and take care of the children and who thinks that her work is just as important as his, has enabled her to push for stretch projects both at work and in her volunteer activities.  Elise credits ACS for providing career development and leadership opportunities that she would not have had otherwise. Her advice to young chemists is “to volunteer early and often. You never know what may come from it. Also, don’t box yourself in. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and try something new professionally.”