Joel Kearns is a part-time PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at WPI. He works full time as a member of the United States Government Senior Executive Service of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He is currently Deputy Director of the Space Flight Systems Directorate at NASA John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. There he provides executive direction of solar electric propulsion, cryogenic fluid management, radioisotope power, advanced communications and microgravity physical science research for NASA. He specializes in solidification and single phase single crystal growth of semiconductor silicon. He previously was Vice President for Engineering and Technology at SUMCO USA and Vice President for Solar Materials R&D at MEMC Electronic Materials.

Scholarly Work