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Nerissa Draeger, Lam Research Corporation

Candidate for MRS Board of Directors

Nerissa Draeger

Nerissa Draeger is a leader in the Strategy & Innovation team in the Office of the CTO at Lam Research, a leading semiconductor equipment company, and serves on four university-industry advisory boards. As Director of Global University Engagements at Lam, she drives innovative solutions for semiconductor manufacturing, guides external research collaborations to make industry impact, and builds academic partnerships to foster diversity in Lam’s technology and talent pipelines. Prior to this role, Draeger managed various programs at Lam Research and Novellus Systems on advanced materials and processes, emerging electronic devices, strategic business and intellectual property development.

With over 25 years of experience in thin film deposition and surface science, Draeger’s career has focused on corporate R&D and new product development for semiconductor fabrication equipment. She has made significant contributions to products for chemical vapor deposition and atomic layer deposition—including area-selective processes—across metal and dielectric materials. She has authored over 30 patents and numerous technical publications. She earned her PhD degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received the department’s 2020 Alumni Loyalty Award, and her BSE degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  

Draeger is an advisor in the university-industry community. She holds positions on the Board of Directors for UIDP, the Industrial Advisory Board for the Microsystems Technology Laboratories at MIT, the Member Advisory Panel for MIT.nano, and the Industry Advisory Committee for the Michigan Materials Research Institute at the University of Michigan.

Candidate's Statement

Being members of the Materials Research Society enables us to connect, learn, innovate and inspire across disciplines and boundaries. MRS has a history of success in convening people and their ideas, sharing knowledge, and promoting interdisciplinary research.

However, we live in an ever more complex world where the pace of change will continue to increase.  The central question is how do we address those challenges in a way that enables innovation to thrive?  I believe we need a greater number and diversity of people working together across the materials ecosystem to deliver both innovations and commercial impact.

I envision the society’s growth occurring in three key areas. First, we need to increase our global membership where it matters most in the next generation of students and new professionals. Second, we need to address retention of members throughout the arc of their career. Finally, we must do a better job in engaging institutions across materials disciplines and applications.

MRS also serves as a valuable platform for sharing knowledge. We must continue to expand materials communications through virtual, print and in-person channels. We need to continue the society’s outreach to tell a compelling story to the stakeholders and consumers who all benefit from what we do.

I have been a material scientist for three decades and I am still excited about what we can develop.  It is accepted that diversity is key to innovation and my experience outside the MRS is the value that I can bring to this position. With a passion for innovation and a deep understanding of the needs of businesses, I believe I have a lot to offer as a board member. In my industry role, I have overseen university collaborations with over 70 academic institutions across five continents to translate academic research into commercial impact. I have learned how to catalyze new ideas and nurture their development as part of the product and talent pipeline in a Fortune 500 company, and to build a community of innovation champions. As an industry advisor to university research consortia, I have worked with academic leadership to develop shared visions for long-term research directions and promote interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration. I have led programs to connect students and faculty with industry researchers to advance the needs of all. On the UIDP Board of Directors, I provide governance, grow their mission, and serve on the membership committee. If elected, I would apply my skills to positioning MRS at the forefront of materials development through understanding member needs, building engagement, and guiding their strategic vision.

I believe that MRS is central to making materials science more relevant to everyone. By amplifying its reach and its members’ voices, MRS can deliver the greatest global impact on society and individuals.