Dr. Cynthia Pierre is the Inspection, Corrosion & Materials Engineering Superintendent at the BP Cherry Point Refinery. In this role, she leads a group of inspectors, engineers and technicians that together are accountable for assuring the mechanical integrity of fixed equipment, in order to help deliver safe and reliable operations. Previously, Cynthia was the Site Lead Materials & Corrosion Engineer for the BP Kwinana Refinery in Western Australia. Prior to her role in Australia, Cynthia was a Senior Materials & Corrosion Engineer in the Refining Technology & Engineering group in BP, in which she supported BP refineries around the world in the areas of materials selection and corrosion mitigation. Prior to BP, Cynthia worked for The Dow Chemical Company as an Associate Research Scientist on various platforms from photoresist materials for electronic applications to automotive seating to additives for lubricant formulations. Prior to joining Dow, Cynthia held various internships at Rhodia, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Inc., and Kraft Foods, Inc. Cynthia holds 5 US granted patents and has co-authored 2 additional pending patent applications.
Cynthia earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Northwestern University. She holds a B.S.E. degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. She is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt Project Leader.
A defining moment for Cynthia came during her junior year of high school when her physics teacher invited her to apply to the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) Plus. She was accepted and worked with Professor Peter Smirniotis at the University of Cincinnati. That experience exposed Cynthia to the possibilities that a STEM education could afford her and at the age of 16 she committed to earning a doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering. She was able to withstand the rigorous curriculum at Princeton and then matriculated to Northwestern for her doctoral degree because during her NASA SHARP Plus experience she learned that she could have a positive impact on society using fundamental principles of mathematics and science.
Cynthia is honored to have received several awards, some include the 2009 Hilliard Symposium 2nd Prize, the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge 2009 and the American Association of University Women Selected Professionals Dissertation Fellowship 2008 – 2009. She has had the privilege of presenting her research throughout the United States as well as internationally in Hobart, Australia and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Understanding that her life was altered because of her education and people who took time to help her understand what she needed to do to pursue her dreams, she spends a significant portion of her time directly mentoring students with an emphasis in STEM education and activities or serving on boards with the hope of reminding various institution to remember the underserved communities. She currently serves on advisory boards at both Princeton and Northwestern universities; she previously served on an advisory board for University of Michigan’s CEDO program. While in Australia she also mentored students at the University of Western Australia. From 2012 to 2014, she led the organizing team for the Annual Great Lakes Regional Science Bowl, which aims to stimulate interest in science and engineering at the junior high and high school levels with a focus on underrepresented minorities. In addition, she served as the 2011 and 2012 chairperson for the Building Engineering and Science Talent at Dow Symposium, and in February 2012 she gave the keynote address at the Memphis Challenge STEM Careers Symposium.