STEM Professional of the week

Clara Rivero-Baleine, Ph.D.      
Lockheed Martin

A multifaceted life, filled with intercultural and international experiences, and a passion for the sciences, have made Dr. Clara Rivero-Baleine a recognized world-wide expert in the fields of optical glass and metamaterials.

Dr. Rivero-Baleine’s journey began in Cuba where at an early age, she showed a strong passion for science and math. She was accepted to a high school focusing on STEM education and two years into her schooling, the Cuban government denied her the opportunity to complete her studies. The political beliefs of Dr. Rivero-Baleine’s family, which were not in line with those of Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, meant her world would significantly change. At the age of 16, in search for a better life, Dr. Rivero-Baleine moved to the United States, with her mother, infant brother and grandfather, who was granted political asylum by the U.S. government for fighting against Castro’s regime. With new opportunities on the horizon, Dr. Rivero-Baleine and her family settled in Orlando, Florida. Despite of the language barrier, the science enthusiast showed great promise as a student. Dr. Rivero-Baleine completed her high school diploma and was named as one of the class valedictorians. Immediately following this accomplishment, Dr. Rivero-Baleine enrolled at the University of Central Florida (UCF) to pursue physics.

During her time at UCF, Dr. Rivero-Baleine was accepted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates program, which not only expanded her research opportunities, but allowed her to spend two summers in Bordeaux, France, where she explored the field of optics. This experience was so impactful, that she knew she would pursue her Ph.D. After earning her master’s degree from UCF, Dr. Rivero-Baleine, was selected as a recipient of the CREOL Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program scholarship, a scholarship that sent her back to France to earn a multidisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Bordeaux.

Today, Dr. Rivero-Baleine serves as a lead Principle Investigator in the research and development department at Lockheed Martin. Here, she collaborates with a team to research ground-breaking enhancement of advanced optical materials systems with metamaterial-based engineered coatings. She is responsible for the next generation infrared optical components, where she is developing broadband frequency materials. Dr. Rivero-Baleine also provides direction on cross-functional teams which consist of internal and external customers. Since joining Lockheed Martin, Dr. Rivero-Baleine has created an exceptional career in research and development in the relatively new field of metamaterials. She plays a critical role in the business mission of innovation and she also initiates patents and assists others in their research leading to world class technologies.

Dr. Rivero-Baleine credits our nation’s commitment to STEM education, for the opportunity to achieve her dream of becoming a scientist. That is why she passionately has committed herself to STEM education. Dr. Rivero-Baleine facilitates involvement and participation in the National Science Foundation’s industry panels and participates in the UCF College of Optics / CREOL undergraduate degree industry advisory board, Ph.D. dissertation committees, job fairs, senior engineering design projects at universities, and mentoring interns hired from the LM-UCF College Work Experience Program and summer internships.

After years of hard work and dedication, in the U.S. and abroad, Dr. Clara Rivero-Baleine is now living the American dream. She loves her job, her family, and especially her three-year old son, Alexian. She holds a bachelor’s in physics and a master’s in optics from the University of Central Florida. In 2005, she earned her Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Bordeaux.

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