2018 HENAAC Luminary Mark Rodriguez

By Jim Danneskiold

Photography By Randy Montoya

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mark Rodriguez in the Sandia X-ray laboratory
SEEING INSIDE — Mark Rodriguez, HENAAC Luminary, poses with one of his favorite instruments, the Single Crystal X-ray Diffractometer in the Sandia X-ray laboratory.

Sandia materials scientist Mark Rodriguez recently received the Luminary Award at the Great Minds in STEM Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference.

Luminary honorees are professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who initiate, collaborate and lead key programs and research and make significant contributions to the Hispanic technical community as leaders and role models.

In her nomination letter, Blythe Clark, Mark’s manager, wrote that “his commitment to giving back to the scientific community makes him truly worthy of being a role model to others.” And Labs Director Steve Younger called Mark “an inspiring scientist whose career and commitment to his community are impressive.”

Mark started at Sandia as a postdoctoral fellow 24 years ago and is now a leader in the field of X-ray diffraction, recognized for his work characterizing new materials. He’s published more than 250 technical articles and been granted eight patents, and frequently instructs others in X-ray diffraction analysis.

Mark won the DOE Advanced Technology Development program award for his development of in-situ X-ray characterization methods for battery cathode materials; the Meritorious Achievement award for addressing hermetic seal failures; and a Sandia Award of Excellence for his outstanding contribution to the Micron project for the National Center for Advanced Information Component Manufacturing. He was also instrumental in the development and commissioning of the High-Pressure Preferred Orientation neutron spectrometer for the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center.

A Fellow of the International Centre for Diffraction Data for nearly a decade, Mark has served in a variety of director and chairman roles for the organization.

His recent research has focused on virtual reality for enhanced diagnostics of micro-computed tomography datasets and 3D X-ray diffraction datasets, taking advantage of low-cost VR headsets and improved graphics processing to view massive amounts of data.

Mark volunteers with MANOS Hands-on Science and Engineering Program and Hispanic Outreach for Leadership and Awareness and has coached youth soccer. He’s also taught Newton’s laws at the Rio Rancho Boys/Girls Club and has served as a science fair judge and volunteer instructor, bringing STEM education to underserved students.

Mark holds a bachelor’s and doctorate in ceramic engineering from Alfred University in Alfred, New York.