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Nichole Wonderling in XRD lab

Nichole Wonderling working in the Material Characterization Lab's x-ray diffraction facility. Credit: Jennifer M. McCann. All Rights Reserved.

By Jamie Oberdick

Nichole Wonderling, assistant research professor and X-ray scattering manager at the Materials Research Institute’s (MRI) Materials Characterization Lab (MCL), has been named a fellow by the International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD). The fellowship recognizes exceptional contributions to the field of materials characterization and dedicated service to the ICDD community. 

Recipients are selected based on nominations from ICDD members, with candidates required to have served a minimum of two years in significant roles such as board director, technical regional co-chair, committee chair, technical subcommittee chair, or leaders in noteworthy ICDD activities. The ICDD Awards Committee reviews the nominations and recommends the most deserving candidates to the ICDD Board of Directors for final approval. 

Wonderling's contributions to the ICDD include serving as a lead instructor at the ICDD's X-ray clinics, chairing the education subcommittee, and playing a pivotal role in educating the materials characterization community. Her leadership in these roles has been instrumental in developing educational materials, implementing workshops, and promoting the teaching of powder diffraction methods in educational institutions. 

"Continuing education is vital for everyone today regardless of discipline. Both employees and employers look for reliable training resources to bring new or transitioning employees up to speed and to refresh or broaden their skills," Wonderling said. “Lifelong learning is very important in scientific disciplines.” 

Wonderling's professional journey reflects her deep expertise and commitment to materials science. In June 2023 she was promoted to assistant research professor at Penn State and she has managed the MCL’s X-ray Scattering Facility since October 2000. Her responsibilities include overseeing the lab's operations in X-ray diffraction, particle characterization, surface area analysis and thermal analysis facilities. Her primary expertise lies in X-ray diffraction, encompassing powder diffraction, non-ambient diffraction, micro-diffraction, Laue single crystal orientation, X-ray stress measurements, small and wide-angle X-ray scattering, and grazing incidence scattering techniques. Prior to her current roles, she held the titles of researcher and research assistant at Penn State, and earlier in her career she worked as a chemist and lab supervisor at North American Refractories. 

In addition to her professional roles, Wonderling has been an active member of the ICDD since 2020. She has chaired the Education Subcommittee since 2021 and is also a member of the Scholarship and Non-ambient Diffraction committees.  

“Nichole's dedication to the field of materials characterization and her contributions to the ICDD are impressive,” said Josh Stapleton, director of the MCL. “Her recognition as an ICDD Fellow is well-deserved and highlights the impact of her work within the x-ray scattering community." 

The Fellow Award was presented to Wonderling at the ICDD Annual Meeting of Members in March.