Dr. Diana L. Ortiz-Montalvo is a Research Chemist with the Nano Materials Group in the Materials Measurement Science Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Diana was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, at the Río Piedras Campus (San Juan, PR). As an undergraduate student, she worked for four years on various research projects that focused on the chemical and physical characterization of atmospheric aerosols. She earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). Her doctoral degree focused on air pollution science and technology. As a graduate student, she studied the formation of secondary organic aerosol through simulated cloud chemistry and droplet evaporation experiments. After earning her Ph.D., she began a two-year postdoctoral position as part of the NRC Research Associateship Program at NIST (Gaithersburg, MD). During her postdoc, she studied the morphology and composition of individual atmospheric particles using advanced microscopy techniques. She reconstructed particles three-dimensionally to study the effect that particle shape and composition had on their optical properties. After her postdoc, Diana continued working at NIST as a permanent staff studying atmospheric particles. Currently, she is working on projects related to particle analysis and characterization, especially micro- and nano-plastic particles found in complex media. Additionally, her most recent research effort involves using Artificial Intelligence to help guide the discovery of new solid sorbent materials for direct air capture of carbon. Overall, she is a highly driven researcher who aspires to become a creative scientist capable of providing solutions to environmental problems.
During her time at NIST, she has been awarded an MML Accolades Award for her role in developing a robust NIST-wide postdoctoral association focused on communication, integration, and career development. Recently, she was awarded the NIST Collaborating for Impact Now (CoIN) award, which promotes meaningful collaboration across organizational boundaries at NIST. Dr. Ortiz-Montalvo has also had a leadership role in NIST priority areas of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Specifically, she is the co-founder and executive board member for the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (WiSTEM) group at NIST. In this capacity, she has led or co-led several activities, including a Career Empowerment Summit. Her dedication earned her the 2021 NIST Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity Award. While always striving to improve as a technical leader, Diana will continue to work towards improving diversity, inclusion, and equity in STEM.