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Home : Media : News
NEWS | July 13, 2020

Carderock Materials Engineer is Avid STEM Proponent

By Edvin Hernandez, NSWCCD public affairs

One of Composite Team Lead Dr. Maureen Foley’s (Code 6102) proudest accomplishments is transitioning her first design to the fleet, something that doesn’t happen to every engineer.

As a child, Foley was raised in Duxbury, Massachusetts, where she was – and continues to be – a passionate learner. Her father was a mechanical engineer and encouraged Foley to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

When the time came to go to college, Foley attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and studied mechanical engineering. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 1991, she continued her education at the University of California Santa Barbra (UCSB), where she studied materials and focused on ceramic matrix composites. She graduated with a Master of Science in 1993 and immediately began working at Raytheon Technologies supporting missile production.

After taking night classes at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, she went back to school full time to pursue her doctorate at the University of Delaware and studied material science and engineering. During her time at UD, Foley was president of the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Processing Engineers (SAMPE) student chapter. It was under this role that she met Dr. Roger Crane – who Foley invited as a guest speaker to her organization’s industry seminar series – and ultimately established a connection that would bring her to Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division.

“At the time, Dr. Crane was supporting an Office of Naval Research-funded effort at the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials where I worked,” she said. “Several years later when I was looking for a job, I reached out to Dr. Crane to ask him about a company in the Baltimore area, and he suggested that I come work at Carderock instead.”

Today, Foley runs a composites group that focuses on developing composite components to eliminate corrosion related maintenance of metallic components. The group’s work begins with ideas that come from the fleet, which are then moved to prototyping and qualification testing before returning new parts to the fleet. Foley and her team also continue to serve as the In-Service Engineering Agent of the components, and field questions from Sailors and maintenance personnel.

Last year, Foley was the recipient of a Carderock Division Honor Award, also known as the Magnificent Eight, which recognizes a person who made major contributions to the Navy and the division. Foley earned the Rear Adm. Benjamin F. Isherwood Award in 2019 for her creative and effective use of composite material solutions. Her contributions benefitted the Navy greatly by the incorporation of composite deck rain insert, vent screens, gratings, deck drain trough cover plates and electrical enclosures. Foley’s efforts also saved the fleet hundreds of man-hours in maintenance costs and time efficiency.

Since onboarding Carderock in February 2007, Foley highlighted the development and transition of the DDG 51 class external composite cover plates as one of her proudest achievements.

“This was an idea that was brought forward from a port engineer,” Foley said. “The first parts that I designed qualified and transitioned to the fleet.”

Reflecting on her career so far, Foley advised new employees to take advantage of their surroundings and continue learning.  

“Try different things and continue to learn,” she said. “I am always learning about new things, and don’t take no for an answer. Keep at it, find out the reason behind the roadblock and see what you can do to go around it. Getting things done in the Navy system is extremely complex and it is very helpful to network and collect friends throughout the Navy Research Enterprise that you can reach out to if you have a question.”

Foley is an avid participator in STEM activities and served in the Loudoun County Communications Commission between 2011-2020. Previously, she was involved in the SAMPE North America organization as the Baltimore/Washington Director and Chair.

Outside of work, Foley enjoys a variety of activities like genealogy, refinishing furniture (upholstery, caning, shaker tape) and gardening. Though she keeps busy, sometimes she will find the time to play her French horn or mellophone, having played in bands in undergrad, graduate school and in community bands.

One of her many talents is her ability to speak French. When she can, Foley visits her extended host family from her high school exchange program in Aire sur la Lys, France. On Feb. 29, 2020, Foley proposed to her boyfriend Mark while the pair were on vacation to see the Washington Nationals Spring Training in Palm Beach, Florida. He said, yes.