Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Tara Lovestead

Chemical Engineer

Tara M. Lovestead received a B.S. in nutrition at Virginia Tech (1997), and a M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2002, 2004). Her dissertation research was on crosslinking polymer reaction kinetics, mechanism, and material properties. She continued her polymers research as a postdoc at the University of New South Wales. She began her career at NIST as a National Academy of Sciences / National Research Council postdoctoral associate.  Her initial project concerned the detection of explosive vapors, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.  The author of over 45 scientific publications, she is now a research scientist at NIST. Her current research interests include alternative fuels, energetic materials, and forensic applications of analytical chemistry. She is also the recipient of the 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).  When Dr. Lovestead is not in the lab, she enjoys rock climbing and camping with her husband, son, daughter, and dog.


The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2013, Funding 2017-2022

National Academy of Science/National Research Council postdoctoral associateship program, 2009-2011

Award winning poster in Physics, Chemical Science and Technology, & Materials Science and Engineering Laboratories Category, Boulder Laboratories Poster Session, NIST, Boulder, Colorado, 06/08


Created August 15, 2019, Updated May 27, 2020