maria curry-nkansah

Senior Advisor & Co-Lead, NREL Circular Economy for Energy Materials Strategic Initiative  


Dr. Curry-Nkansah currently serves as Senior Advisor and co-Lead for the NREL Circular Economy for Energy Materials strategic initiative. Dr. Maria Curry-Nkansah is responsible for leading short-and long range planning and implementation for projects that promote a closed loop system for increased supply chain security through recovery of critical materials, components and devices for low carbon intensity technologies. She also serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Department of Energy’s newest Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, EPIXC (Electrification of Processes for Industry without Carbon). Prior to NREL, Maria spent 6 years as the COO for Argonne National Laboratory, Physical Sciences and Engineering, a Directorate with 800 staff and $150 million in annual funding. Her role included oversight of fiscal, IT and human resource management, major infrastructure planning, safety and quality assurance; driving safe, cost-effective and efficient research and development operations.

Additionally, Maria has over 20 years of experience in scientific R&D and product development including 14 years at BP and 5 years at Rohm and Haas (now Dow). Other roles have included Senior Research Scientist, Group Leader, Market Development Manager, and Business Development Manager.

She has a Ph.D. in Physical Inorganic Chemistry from the University of North Caroline-Chapel Hill and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She served as the co-lead for Secretary Monitz’s 2016 Capitol Hill National Lab Science Day; a former co-Chair for the $2 billion Department of Energy’s Freedom Car and Fuel Partnership and founder of the DuPage County ACTSO African American High School Research STEM Program which is in its tenth year. Maria is a former board member of the Hydrogen Education Foundation and the Naperville Indian Prairie School District 204. She is the proud mother of Asare, a computer scientist and Abbey, a graduate of UIUC and a candidate for a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at UT-Austin. Maria has and continues to devote her energies towards increasing the participation of young African Americans in the fields of STEM which is part of her many contributions to social justice.