Meet Dr. Betsy Clark

Kaitlyn Landram

Mar 3, 2022

Meet the Team
Dr. Betsy Clark has been with the Materials Characterization Facility since 2016 and currently acts as the facility’s managing director. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of PIttsburgh and Ph.D. in Materials Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Clark was integral in leading the facility through its shutdown during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in March of 2020 to its return to normal usage in the Summer of 2021. When she’s not keeping MCF up and running, Clark likes to spend her time at the playground with her 2 young children.


What does a day in the life of the managing director look like?

Everyday is a little different. It always depends on what’s on the agenda for the day. I try to still spend some of my time working with students - that’s my favorite part of the job. I’m also still the primary contact for the x-ray lab so usually I have some trainings on the x-ray equipment and then a lot of management things, for example right now we are planning to move the x-ray lab so I spend a lot of time on that!

How did you get involved with MCF?

I knew I wanted to come back to Pittsburgh after completing grad school at UC Santa Barbara and although I liked my first job out of school it just wasn’t the right fit for me. When a job here at CMU in the Materials Characterization Facility  opened up I jumped on it and I’ve been here ever since. I did a lot of characterization work in my PhD so it has been a perfect fit for me. 

Do you have a favorite piece of equipment?

As managing director, I probably shouldn’t have a favorite…but we got a new Empyrean XRD and it’s been very fun to work with and I’m still figuring out how to push it to its full functionality - it can do micro diffraction and has a hot stage - so right now it’s my favorite. I spend a lot of time with the SEMs as well.

Dr. Betsy Clark and her husband

Source: Betsy Clark

Dr. Betsy Clark and her husband

What do you like to do away from MCF?

I really like being outdoors. Right now, since my kids are young that primarily means going to playgrounds but as they get older I’m looking forward to getting them into hiking and biking!

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about MCF?

For the broader campus, I think everyone should be aware of the level of instrumentation we have. Although we fall under Materials Science and Engineering, which is generally a small department, we have really great instruments that researchers in all different areas could benefit from. For example we have a TEM that has atomic level resolution. Our instruments are super impressive.