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Leonard, Aeriel


Dr. Aeriel D.M. Leonard is an assistant professor with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. 

Education and professional experience

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the University of Alabama in 2012. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Dr. Leonard worked in the Corrosion Research Group at Alstom Inc. for a year.

In 2013, she began her Ph.D. journey at the University of Michigan in Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Leonard’s Ph.D. work investigated real-time microstructural and deformation evolution in magnesium alloys using advanced characterization techniques such high energy diffraction microscopy and electron back scatter diffraction.

While at the University of Michigan, she led and worked on many teams aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in engineering, including developing and implementing a leadership camp for female engineering students in Monrovia, Liberia. 

Dr. Leonard was awarded an NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the U.S, Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC where she worked for two years. During this time, she used advanced characterization techniques such as x-ray computed tomography and high-energy diffraction microscopy to understand damage and texture evolution during in-situ loading in additive manufactured materials.

Professor Leonard also runs a lifestyle blog titled AerielViews aimed at young graduate and professional students. As part of the global light source network and a user of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), Dr. Leonard posted a LightSource selfie (December 2021) as part of their video campaign.   

Honors and awards while at Ohio State

  • Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research to research the sensitivity of cyclic deformation (fatigue) mechanisms to microstructural influences in Nickel-Aluminum-Bronze (NAB) manufactured via wire arc additive manufacturing (AM) (2021)
  • Early Career Research Program Award from the Department of Energy (2022) to research fatigue prediction in complex metallic alloys


Dr. Leonard’s research interest is combining advanced characterization with in-situ experiments to quantify relationships between manufacturing/processing, micro/macro structures, and mechanical behavior in microstructurally and compositionally complex alloy systems, additive manufactured materials, and magnesium alloys.

Areas of research expertise

  •  in-situ synchrotron and electron microscopy techniques for mechanical behavior and microstructural evolution
  • lightweight materials (Al, Mg)
  • alloy adaption for additive manufacturing
  • integrated computational materials engineering