National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

MaryBeth R. Lewton

MaryBeth R. LewtonWheeling Jesuit University
Wheeling, WV

Communications, minor
Bachelor of Science, May 2008

Georgetown University
Washington D.C

PhD, May 2013

NASA Academy Research Project:
Characterization and Development of Lithium-Ion Battery Components

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Richard S. Baldwin


When I was younger, I had many dreams of what I wanted to become when I grew up. A ballerina, a construction worker, a monkey trainer, a journalist, and a scientist were all possible careers options when I was younger. I wanted to help others and make a difference in the world, but I was not quite sure how. The two ideal careers that stayed present in my life were journalism and science. In college, I decided to pursue both majoring in chemistry with a minor in communications. I learned a lot about my life philosophy in college. I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to help, serve and work with others to make a difference in the world. By attending a university that embodied life, leadership and service with and among others, I have realized that helping others is more than just cleaning an elderly person’s house or volunteering at a thrift store. For me, making a difference by helping others in this world involves following my heart to determine how my abilities can be useful to those around me.


Leadership was not always one of my strong points. In high school, I was the senior representative for the Varsity Tennis team. I did not have much time for other leadership opportunities because I was very focused on my studies. I was also active in choir, the National Honor Society, and Track and Field.

In college, I decided that I was going to make a change in my life. I was going to become the leader I knew I was meant to be. My freshman year I became very involved in Campus Activities Board (CAB). Sophomore year, I volunteered with a robotics Girl Scout Troop #4920 and became a mentor. I began a work study job and went through the Leadership Series to become an on-campus leader. This series looked at your morals, ethics, and the way one handles tough situations. I was selected to be a Luceat, which acts as a mentor for freshman students through the class First Year Seminar (FYS) to adjust from high school to college. I was a Teacher’s Assistant for FYS and led service projects for Make-A-Difference Day. Junior year, I was more active with my Girl Scout Troop and served as the secretary of Chemistry Club. My senior year, Campus Activities Board elected me to be Vice-President of CAB. My leadership skills started to snowball. I became active in the chemistry honor society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon as President, Historian of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-medicine honor society, and Chemistry Club President. As a leader in many different areas of my life, time management became a necessity. Being more involved in the different areas of my life kept me on track through the tough times and enabled me to persevere through many challenges and life lessons in college.

Work Experience / Research / Hobbies:

I have been working in some facet since I was fourteen years old. Like most teenage girls, I began babysitting and continued this until I was sixteen. At the age of sixteen, I started at the Giant Eagle in my hometown as a cashier and worked there throughout high school. I returned to the grocery store every winter and summer break throughout college.

The summer after freshman year of college, I worked as a lab assistant for The Sherwin-Williams Company in the Polymer Lab. I started a work study job my sophomore year at Human Resources and then moved to the Information Technology Service (ITS) Offices as a student secretary. I worked there until I graduated becoming their go-to-girl to create memos and notes for other student workers. After sophomore year, I became a summer intern at Sherwin-Williams in the Polymer Lab. I worked on a water-based latex coating for plastics. After volunteering with the Girl Scouts, I became eligible for a NASA Space Grant Scholarship at the Center for Educational Technologies. I programmed robots, created instructional materials, and became the Assistant Director of the 2007 FIRST LEGO League West Virginia State Tournament in my time there. The summer before my senior year, I interned at Sherwin-Williams in the Formulation Development department and worked on reducing the side sheen of a polyurethane-based durable faux finish. I started research at Wheeling Jesuit University in my senior year and looked at the lead contamination in toys from China. I presented my research, “Analyzing Imported Toys for Possible Lead Contamination,” at the 235th American Chemical Society National Convention in New Orleans, LA this past April.

Outside of work and academia, I enjoy being creative. I have been known to paint, color, write, or design jewelry whenever the urge occurs. Besides being creative, I enjoy playing tennis, watching movies, and going for a walk or a run to release stress. Also, I love hanging out with friends and family and meeting new people.

The next step in my life is graduate school. In the fall, I will be attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. to pursue a doctoral degree in Chemistry. After graduate school my plan is to gain experience with a job in industry by creating new consumer goods or pharmaceuticals, or to teach. In the big scheme of things, I hope to have a positive influence on our world.