Elizabeth “Libby” Kupp received the 2021 MatSE Alumna of the Year Award during the annual MatSE awards presentation. Kupp is an associate teaching professor who earned a bachelor of science in ceramic science and a doctor of philosophy in materials science and engineering, both from Penn State.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Kupp began her career as an engineer at Kennametal, providing project leadership for the development of silicon carbide whisker reinforced alumina metal-cutting tools. She subsequently returned to Penn State for graduate school. After graduation, she accepted a yearlong postdoctoral position at Penn State followed by a postdoctoral position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for two years. Kupp returned to campus as a research associate, developing and optimizing processing for fabrication of transparent ceramic gain materials based on YAG (a synthetic crystal of yttrium aluminum garnet) for high power lasers.
In 2007, Kupp began teaching MatSE 468-Ceramic Processing Laboratory. Since then, she has taught many different classes, and developed new courses to enhance the curriculum. Kupp has mentored countless undergraduate researchers, including Women in Science and Engineering and international internship students as part of the International Internship in Materials program.
In addition to teaching and advising, Kupp has published many peer-reviewed papers, received external funding grants, and provided countless hours of service to the department, college, and University. Since her return to Penn State, she has been actively involved in improving and maintaining laboratory safety, including co-teaching a course on laboratory safety management since 2017. Also, Kupp has been involved in advancing diversity through outreach as a member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (2010-14) and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Diversity Council (2014-present).