Professor Jenifer Locke


Photo of Assistant Professor Jenifer Locke


Education and professional background

Jenifer received her BA in Physics from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH. She then worked for a year at AFRL prior to pursuing her Ph.D. in MSE at the University of Virginia. At AFRL, Jen studied glass formability in Al-Ni-RE (rare earth) bulk metallic glasses. At the University of Virginia, Jen performed research on corrosion fatigue of age-hardenable Al alloys. Specifically, she examined the ability of specific microstructures to self-inhibit the deleterious effects of a corrosive environment or the ability of chemical inhibitors to produce passivity to inhibit the deleterious effects of a corrosive environment. After earning her Ph.D., Jen worked for three years in research and development at Alcoa, where she focused on corrosion and environment-assisted cracking of aerospace and automotive Al alloys. Professor Locke also began work in alloy development and thermo-mechanical processing at Alcoa. She came to The Ohio State University in Jan 2015 and primarily performs research in corrosion and environment-assisted cracking.

Area of interest

  • Metallurgy
  • Corrosion/degradation

Research and areas of expertise

My primary research interests are in environment assisted cracking (EAC) and corrosion of metals and alloys. I have particular interest in advancing laboratory EAC experimental capabilities to enable improved understanding of unique service environments, quantifying and understanding metallurgical and thermo-mechanical processing effects on occluded site electrochemistry in corrosion and EAC of metals, and in inhibition of EAC.  

This research area is important as it dramatically improves the sustainable use of metals utilized in our infrastructure (examples include aluminum used for aircraft, automobiles; and bridges and steels used for ships, automobiles, bridges, and nuclear waste storage). A major problem when considering the sustainable use of metals is environmental degradation through corrosion processes. In everyday life, corrosion is most easily seen as rust; but in our aging infrastructure, it can go unseen and cause catastrophic failures that severely limit sustainable, long-term use of engineered metal structures. My research aims to understand the processes that lead to failures promoted by the environment so that one can properly design against it or mitigate the problem.

Approach to diversity and inclusion

I believe that ensuring all people have the welcoming and free space to reach their true potential is a moral obligation of humanity. She also believes that humanity has systemically suppressed various groups throughout history and continue to do so today. In order to ensure we can achieve a truly inclusive culture, we must start to also consider equity. Without equity, those who have been suppressed cannot actually achieve parity as they are anchored down. In order to actively improve D&I, it is critical that we require all in our community to be aware of implicit bias and regularly engage in implicit bias testing. Additionally, specific rules need to be put in place and enforced to ensure the majority stake holders do not create a unwelcomed culture either explicitly or implicitly. It is also critical that equity measures be thought about and put into place to ensure those that are systemically hindered do not fall behind through no fault of their own. Finally, I think it is critical that everyone listens with open minds, believes others truths, and welcomes difference.  

I have been through training for life coaching, was involved with culture change workshops, was the co-president of a local chapter of Alcoa's LGBTQA employee resource group, and was on the corporate lead team while working at Alcoa. I have attended many diversity workshops at Ohio State, am involved in WEPAN, and am a member of TMS's D&I committee.

What you might not know about Professor Locke

I am from Massillon, Ohio and went to Perry High School. While in high school, I was involved in competitive speech, theater, and varsity soccer. In college, I was active in theater, managed the stage, and ran lights and sound. I have two children and my spouse is also a faculty member at Ohio State.

I am a first-generation college student, have divorced parents, and a brother who serves in the US Air Force. When I lived in Pittsburgh and worked for Alcoa, I won a greater Pittsburgh area Dignity and Respect Award for my role in starting and leading a LGBTQA employee resource group at the R&D center where I worked.