Dr. George Spanos Receives Commanding Officer's EEO Award

5/11/2009 - 25-09r
Contact: Donna McKinney, (202) 767-2541

Dr. George Spanos, a section head in the Multifunctional Materials Branch at the Naval Research Laboratory, is the recipient of the Commanding Officer's Award for Achievement in the Field of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

Dr. Spanos was cited for demonstrating "his commitment to the philosophy of EEO by passion and leadership skills in mentoring of minority students through the NSF-sponsored Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities intern program. Dr. Spanos is recognized for his dedication to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity at the Naval Research Laboratory; the proactive pursuit of opportunities to create a diverse working environment; and for his leadership and ardent, long-term commitment to youth education in science."

Dr. Spanos has been serving as Co-Director since 2002 and been a driving force in the success of the NRL Summer Internship program to encourage minority students in science and engineering. Since his initial involvement in the program in 1998, 158 students have been employed and participated in the NRL program and many have spoken highly of him and his enthusiasm for the program and their well -being.

This internship program has been in existence for 16 years and is focused primarily, but not exclusively, to undergraduates that attend the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities (HBCU/MI/TCU's). The program gives interns hands-on experience in research for a 10-week period at various laboratories at NRL. Interns come from various disciplines including: biology, biochemistry and chemistry; chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering; physics, mathematics and computer science; and materials science. The program not only provides opportunities and training in areas of scientific research, but also provides the interns with mentors who serve as role models to encourage them to pursue advanced degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering, and careers in research.

As co-director, Dr. Spanos works assiduously to promote the summer program, taking on an array of responsibilities without compromising his own research projects. Dr. Spanos' numerous responsibilities for the HBCU program include: 1) co-oversight of the program; 2) recruitment and site visits to HBCU schools; 3) organizing special scientific ethics discussion seminars; 4) coordination with Directors on housing, food and transportation issues for interns upon arrival; 5) arranging external field trips to promote unity among interns; and 6) assisting with coordinating the annual "Lunch with the NRL Captain".

Dr. Spanos' values and beliefs epitomize EEO by his co-leadership of the HBCU/MI/TCU program and mentoring of students from underrepresented groups in this program and his understanding and open-mindedness towards diversity and unity amongst all in and outside the workplace by his involvement in church and local community activities.

Dr. Spanos is an outstanding laboratory scientist, principal investigator, and a world-leader in the study of processing-microstructure-property correlations in advanced high strength, high toughness Naval steels and weldments used in surface ship and submarine construction, the development of continuous-cooling-transformation diagrams for new ultra low carbon weld consumables being developed by the U.S. Navy, and modeling of the diffusional growth of precipitate phases during solid-solid phase transformations. His most current research projects employ a variety of techniques including advanced computer-aided 3D reconstruction and quantification techniques, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) analyses, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and computer modeling of phase transformations. These investigations include: three-dimensional reconstruction and quantitative analysis of microstructures using serial sectioning by polishing and Focused Ion Beam (FIB) methods, in conjunction with EBSD, and advanced computer visualization and quantification techniques.

Dr. Spanos has worked at NRL for 19 years as a key member in the Physical Metallurgy Branch (now Multifunctional Materials) and has served as section head in what is now the Microstructural Evolution Section since 1995.

Dr. Spanos has been an author/co-author of eight NRL Review articles, three book chapters, more than 55 peer-reviewed journal articles and garnered over 1300 citations. He has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including four Berman Research Publication awards, two Erskine fellowships, and the Marcus A. Grossman Award. He is also a Fellow of ASM International and a member of the governing board for the prestigious journal, Acta Materialia.

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