About Me

In the pursuit of my education, I developed an intense interest in characterizing materials subjected to extreme environments. Most recently, my interests include the evaluation of the influence of varying energy dissipation in high radiation conditions on material structures, including ion-beam modification of materials, and characterization of research reactor fuel forms at microstructural and engineering length-scales, to understand their swelling behavior and evaluate their performance. My research training also developed skills for depth profile analysis in far-from-equilibrium structures, through diffraction and electron microscopy. I am driven to seek the most effective methods for characterization, whether through improving techniques already in my toolkit or considering new processes which require my growth. I have a genuine desire to learn continually, to challenge and stretch my capabilities.


Awards & Recognitions

Best Poster Award – 2nd Place | The Nuclear Materials Conference, NuMat2018
Oct 2018

Chancellor’s Fellow | The University of Tennessee
Aug 2014 – Jul 2018

Excellence in Teaching Award | The University of Tennessee, Materials Science and Engineering Department
Apr 2018

Nuclear & Environmental Technology Division’s Student Stipend Award | The American Ceramics Society
Sep 2017

Received the Accolade of Knighthood | Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller
Mar 2017

Dean’s List | Drexel University
2009 – 2014

A.J. Drexel Scholar | Drexel University
2009 - 2014

Professional Affiliations and Service

Drexel University STAR Scholars Program

  • Alumni Reviewer | 2020

American Society for Materials International (ASM)

  • Mentor, ASM Materials Education Foundation Materials Camp | 2015, 2016, 2017

Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honors Society
PA Zeta Chapter | 2012 – Present

  • President | Sep 2012 - Apr 2014

Alpha Sigma Mu, Materials Science and Engineering Honors Society
PA Alpha Chapter | 2012 – Present

Materials Advantage
2010 – Present

The American Ceramics Society (ACerS)
2010 – Present

The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS)
2010 – Present

Charitable Activities and Service

Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller
Jun 2009 – Present

  • Knight Commander of Idaho Outpost | May 2019 – Present
  • Knight Commander of Tennessee Outpost | Mar 2017 – Apr 2019
  • Grand Almoner for the Grand Priory of the United States | 2016 – Present

Legacy Church, Knoxville
Aug 2014 – May 2019

  • Sound Engineer | May 2017 – May 2019
  • Community On Mission | 2015 – May 2019
    • Volunteered with the Emerald Youth Foundation
    • Volunteered with the Knoxville ReAnimation Coalition to restore the historic burial ground at Odd Fellows Cemetery, Knoxville


The University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN | 2014 - 2019 | Graduate GPA 3.92

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering

  • Hooded: May 9, 2019
  • Dissertation: “The Response of Ti3SiC2 MAX Phase to Ion Energy Dissipation During Energetic Irradiations at Different Temperatures”
  • Committee: Dr. William J. Weber (chair), Dr. Yanwen Zhang, Dr. Steven J. Zinkle, and Dr. Claudia J. Rawn

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA | 2009 - 2014 | GPA 3.85 | magna cum laude

Pennoni Honors College

  • Graduated with Distinction
  • Bachelors of Science in Materials Science Engineering
  • Minor in Nuclear Engineering


Research Experience

Postdoctoral Research Associate | Battelle Energy Alliance

Idaho National Laboratory
Advanced Characterization and Post Irradiation Examination Division
Nuclear Engineering Group
Mentor: A.B. Robinson
Idaho Falls, ID | May 2019 - Present

  • Performs Post Irradiation Examination (PIE) on experimental monolithic and dispersion U-Mo fuel forms to support their qualification by the Fuel Qualification Pillar of the U.S. High Performance Research Reactors program (USHPRR), the U.S. European Fuel Development Experiment Group (US-FDEG), and for the development of the KiJang Research Reactor (KJRR) by the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)
  • Performs PIE analysis on experimental fuel rodlets for the ATF-1 and ATF-2 experiments of the Advanced Fuels Campaign (AFC)
  • PIE characterization to support above programs are performed at the Hot Fuel Examination Facility (HFEF) and include visual examinations, non-destructive local profilometry and fuel swelling analysis oxide thickness measurement, immersion density and volumetric analysis, neutron radiography, precision gamma spectrometry, optical microscopy and metallography, blister threshold testing, and plenum pressure analysis of gas assay, sample, and recharge (GASR) testing
  • Current program/division point-of-contact for the implementation and improvement of the Visual Examination Machine (VEM) within HFEF to improve high-resolution in-cell visual examination capabilities for above and future programs
  • Developed python scripting to automate handling and processing of large PIE datasets, streamlining analysis, significantly reducing error-likely, repetitive human inputs, and simplifying interfacing with statistical analysis groups
  • Continually collaborates to develop new ways to combine and visualize data from disparate sources to reveal underlying trends

Research Assistant | The University of Tennessee

Radiation Effects in Materials Group
Advisor: Dr. W.J. Weber
Knoxville, TN | Aug 2014 - Apr 2019

  • Structurally and chemically characterize the influence of electronic vs nuclear energy dissipation within Ti3SiC2 MAX phases following high fluence energetic ion irradiations, utilizing grazing incidence x-ray diffraction (GIXRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), g.b analysis, and the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory (IBML)
  • Developed the application of an iterative method to determine self-consistent c/a for precise measurement of lattice parameter as a function of depth within ion irradiated hexagonal polycrystals

Research Assistant | Drexel University

Dynamic Characterization Group
Advisor: Dr. M.L. Taheri
Philadelphia, PA | Jan 2013 - Jun 2014

  • Utilized in situ TEM annealing, high resolution TEM, scanning TEM, and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy mapping to locate and analyze the diffusion behavior of implanted Ag ions to bring visibility to potential mechanisms of fission product release as observed in current TRISO fuel configurations

Co-op | Carpenter Technology Corp.

Product Process Technology
Reading, PA | Apr 2013 - Sep 2013

  • Developed and optimized a robust centerless grinding practice that more than doubles throughput without sacrificing quality for use in a new production line and current operations
  • Assisted with operations analysis; employed information in the implementation and improvement of new production line development
  • Integrated and consolidated data and performed analysis to improve yield retention in practices at the Latrobe Specialty Metals facility
  • Composed technical reports and presentations for documentation of findings
  • Presented findings to managers, supervisors, and coordinators
  • Performed analysis of potential alloy process improvement and presented recommendations at stage review

Research Assistant | Drexel University

MAX Phase Research Group
Advisor: Dr. M.W. Barsoum
Philadelphia, PA | Mar 2012 - Oct 2012

  • Project Lead – Development of fully dense MAX phase ternary carbides with Niobium and Zirconium in solid solution for nuclear fuel cladding applications
  • Tested development novel MAX phases including Ti2CdC, Ti2SbP, and inexpensive MX-enes from waste material

Co-op | Carpenter Technology Corp.

Alloy Research & Development
Reading, PA | Mar 2011 - Oct 2011

  • Project Lead – Developed a time, temperature, transformation (TTT) diagram for PremoMet and Temper-Tough Alloys
  • Project Lead – Created a spheroidal anneal heat treatment for PremoMet and Temper-Tough Alloys that is offered as an available sale condition for these alloys
  • Performed crack growth (da/dn) and fracture toughness studies for PremoMet and Temper-Tough Alloys
  • Executed failure analysis and microscopy to rate grain scale of multiple alloys
  • Prepared findings in presentation format for weekly team meetings

Researcher / STAR Scholar | Drexel University

MAX Phase Research Group
Advisor: Dr. M.W. Barsoum
Philadelphia, PA | Mar 2010 - Mar 2011

  • Planned experimental program implementing new methods to study Ga equilibrium intergranular films
  • Prepared samples in crucibles; programmed and performed diffential scanning callorimetry (DSC)
  • Observed samples with XRD and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Presented findings through written report and scientific poster presentation to Drexel University faculty


  • W.A. Hanson, A.B. Robinson, N.J. Lybeck, J.W. Nielsen, L.M. Jamison, G.L. Hofman, B. Ye, A. Leenaers, B. Stepnik, I.Y. Glagolenko. “Non-destructive fuel swelling analysis of the EMPIrE fuel test.” Manuscript in Progress - Target Journal: Journal of Nuclear Materials (2021)
  • W.A. Hanson, F. Cappia, J. White, K.J. McClellan, J.M. Harp. “Post-irradiation examination of low burnup U3Si5 and UN-U3Si5 composite fuels.” Manuscript in Progress - Target Journal: Journal of Nuclear Materials (2021)
  • P.L. Winston, K.M. Wheeler, G. Housley, S.A. Warmann, Z. Birri, S. Marschmann, J. Giglio, C. Knight, W.A. Hanson. “Upgraded in-cell visual inspection capability in the Hot Fuel Examination Facility.” Manuscript in Progress - Target Journal: Nuclear Engineering and Technology (2021)
  • A. Robinson, W. Williams, W. Hanson, B. Rabin, N. Lybeck, M. Meyer. “Swelling of U-Mo monolithic fuel: Developing a predictive swelling correlation under research reactor conditions.” Journal of Nuclear Materials 544 (2020) 1-12 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnucmat.2020.152703
  • G. Hofman, L. Jamison, B. YE, Z.-G. Mei, A. Yacout, A. Robinson, W. Hanson, J. Nielsen, D. Keiser, A. Leenaers. “Analysis of preliminary PIE results for PVD coated U-7Mo dispersion fuel plates irradiated in the EMPIrE experiment.” RRFM-2020 Conference Proceeding - Fuel Cycle from Front End to Back End (2020) 27-31
  • W.A. Hanson, M.K. Patel, M.L. Crespillo, F. Zhang, S.J. Zinkle, Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber. “Ionizing vs collisional radiation damage in materials: Separated, competing, and synergistic effects in Ti3SiC2.” Acta Materialia 173 (2019) 195-205 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2019.05.015
  • W.A. Hanson, M.K. Patel, M.L. Crespillo, Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber. “Influence of electronic vs nuclear energy loss in radiation damage of Ti3SiC2.” Acta Materialia 161 (2018) 302-310 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actamat.2018.09.027
  • R. Coward, C.R. Winkler, W.A. Hanson, M.L. Jablonski, and M.L. Taheri. “TEM Investigation of Ag Ion Implanted ß-SiC.” Journal of Nuclear Materials 457 (2015) 298-303 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.11.116

Conference Presentations

  • “Effects of different variables on non-destructive characterization of local fuel swelling in the EMPIrE tests.” Oral Presentation. W.A. Hanson, A.B. Robinson, N.J. Lybeck, J.W. Nielsen, I.Y. Glagolenko. The Nuclear Materials Conference
    NuMat2020 | Virtual, Online | Oct 2020
  • “Influence of Electronic Stopping Threshold on Damage Evolution in Ti3SiC2 Irradiated with 9 MeV Ti ions.” Poster Presentation. W.A. Hanson, Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber. The Nuclear Materials Conference
    NuMat2018 | Seattle, WA | Oct 2018
  • “Effects of Temperature and Electronic Energy Loss on the Irradiation Response of Ti3SiC2 to Self-Ions.” Oral Presentation. W.A. Hanson, Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber. International Conference on Ion Beam Modification of Materials
    IBMM2018 | San Antonio, TX | Jun 2018
  • “Irradiaion Temperature Influence on Nanolayered Response in Select MAX Phase Ceamics to High Fluence Self-ion Irradiation.” Oral Presentation. W.A. Hanson, Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber. The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society Annual Conference
    TMS2018 | Phoenix, AZ | Mar 2018
  • “Structural Characterization of Nanolayered Response in Select MAX Phase Ceramics to High Fluence Self-ion Irradiation.” Oral Presentation. W.A. Hanson, Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber. Materials Science and Technology Annual Conference
    MS&T2017 | Pittsburgh, PA | Oct 2017

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant | The University of Tennessee, Materials Science and Engineering Department

Principles of Materials Laboratory I & II
Instructor: Chris Wetteland
Laboratory Course | Jan 2017 - May 2018

  • Assisted in developing lab curricula and ran labs and demonstrations
  • Developed quizzes and rubrics for assignments
  • Graded quizzes, abstracts, reports, and oral and poster presentations

X-ray Diffraction
Instructor: Dr. Claudia J. Rawn
Lecture and Laboratory Course | Aug 2015 - Dec 2015

  • Guest lecturer: grazing incidence x-ray diffraction (GIXRD) special topic
  • Assisted in developing lab curricula and ran labs and demonstrations
  • Developed rubrics for and graded lab reports


Please feel free to contact me with questions through any of the platforms embeded in the links below: