Ruth Harding to be honored with Distinguished Chemistry Alumna Award

KEARNEY – Ruth (Udey) Harding has been selected as the 2023 Dr. Donald E. Fox Distinguished Chemistry Alumna.

She will be honored at the 43rd annual Distinguished Alumni Awards luncheon, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Sept. 29 in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. Tickets are $25 per person ($30 starting Sept. 18), $15 for children ages 12 and younger, and can be purchased until Sept. 21 at or by calling the UNK Alumni Association at 308-698-5271.

Harding will share her lecture 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29 in Copeland Hall, Room 131. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ruth Harding
Ruth Harding

“Dr. Ruth Harding was an excellent student in both the classroom and research lab,” said Scott Darveau, professor of chemistry at UNK. “Ruth was one of our first undergraduate research students focusing on photovoltaic thin films. Her success in conducting various spectroscopic techniques and their analysis was important in establishing the value of undergraduates in high-level scientific research and set the stage for two decades of collaborative research in photovoltaics between UNK and UNL.”

Harding received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry from UNK in 2006. Following her graduation from UNK, she earned a Master of Science in forensic chemistry and a doctorate in analytical chemistry, both from Michigan State University.

Harding has spent 13 years with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California, with roles as a graduate student intern, postdoctoral researcher, assurance officer, quality manager and now operations manager in the Global Security Directorate.

Founded in 1952, LLNL provides solutions to important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Her current role as an operations manager combines Harding’s passions for scientific research and safety management, allowing her to contribute to the research at a Department of Energy national laboratory by helping to plan work safely, perform safety oversight and enable the researchers to complete their mission deliverables.

She’s received the Lawrence Scholar Graduate Student Fellowship, R&D 100 Award and two Director’s Institutional Operational Excellence Awards.

A Columbus native and Columbus High School graduate, Harding was a member of the UNK Alumni Association’s Gold Torch Society during college.