Ms. LaKesha Perry is a Physical Scientist/Academic Program Manager in the Director’s Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). LaKesha has over 25 years of scientific research experience working in Federal and Academic laboratories, including the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She joined NIST in 2015 as an Engineering Technician with the Engineering Laboratory’s Materials and Structural Systems Division. She was also elected President of her local section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2022.
LaKesha’s technical background is in Chemistry and Engineering. She received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Towson University. She is an expert in the analytical and forensic characterization of cementitious and polymeric materials using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. LaKesha has assisted with the development and maintenance of new measurement tools and the operation of the Simulated Photodegradation via High Energy Radiant Emission (SPHERE) ultraviolet (UV) weathering device used for photodegradation studies on photovoltaic components. She has developed and published testing practices for hydration studies on multiple types of cement and minerals. LaKesha has also co-authored numerous scientific publications.
In LaKesha’s current role, she is the Director of the NIST NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship Program and the Graduate Student Measurement Science and Engineering (GMSE) Fellowship. She manages internship programs and opportunities for both graduate students and postdocs. LaKesha has won both ACS and NIST awards for her work in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion space and as an Outreach volunteer. Her passion in outreach focuses on promotion and advocacy for STEM representation and involvement for students and professionals of minority backgrounds. LaKesha believes in the One NIST Culture and promotes a diverse, equitable, and inclusive working environment.