Olivia A. Graeve

University of California, San Diego | La Jolla, CA | 2020

Olivia A. Graeve Portrait Photo

I come to work every day because I love my job as a professor and mentor. Working with students, I find hope that we can build something extraordinary with kindness, compassion, and respect for others. I have hope that we can eliminate borders and bring down walls, and that we can live, work, and grow together. At UC San Diego, we are building something based on that concept—this award motivates me to continue supporting students in their goal towards becoming the best versions of themselves.

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. Awardees may choose to provide their latest biographical information on their profile page.

Olivia Graeve joined the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), in 2012, and is currently Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Director of the CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials and Systems, and Faculty Director of the IDEA Engineering Student Center. Olivia has sustained national efforts towards the recruitment and retention of Hispanic students in undergraduate and graduate engineering programs for over 20 years, mostly through her activities with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). She has also established outstanding bridges of collaboration between the U.S. and México through her CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials and Systems, a bi-national research center between UC San Diego and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 2013, she also established the ENLACE summer research program for students from the U.S. and México. This unique bi-national program is now in its eighth year and has 443 alumni. Olivia's honors include the 2006 Hispanic Educator of the Year award by SHPE, the 2010 Karl Schwartzwalder Professional Achievement in Ceramic Engineering Award by the American Ceramic Society, the 2011 SHPE “Jaime Oaxaca” Award, and the UC San Diego Faculty Research Lecturer (2019), among others. More recently, she has been inducted into the Tijuana Walk of Fame (2014), the Mexican Academy of Engineering (2016), the Mexican Academy of Sciences (2019), and has been named Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (2017). In addition, Forbes Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Powerful Women of Mexico (2017). Olivia earned a B.S. in structural engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Davis.