Dr. Valeria La Saponara received her Bachelor’s degree in 1994 in aerospace engineering from the University of Naples, Italy. She worked as a research fellow at the MARS Center, Italy, a subcontractor of NASA and the European Space Agency. She then went to the U.S. and completed her Master’s and Ph.D. in 2001, both in aerospace engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
As a graduate student, she was the recipient of a fellowship from the University of Naples, two Amelia Earhart International Awards, the Clare Booth Luce Fellowship, the Luther Long III Award for Excellence in Mechanics.
After working as instructor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech for one year, she became an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Utah. In July 2005, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis.
She conducts research on applied mechanics of composite structures. She works on the durability of fiber-reinforced polymer composites. We study different aspects, from experimental characterization of composites under hygrothermal-mechanical-chemical degradation, to smart composites with embedded sensors.
In 2007 she received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.