Employee Spotlight: Raquel Moraes

Raquel Moraes

Raquel Moraes joined the NCAT team as a postdoctoral researcher in October 2017. She is a materials scientist and chemist with nine years of research experience. Moraes obtained master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked at their Modified Asphalt Research Center for six years before joining the NCAT team. She is working on asphalt rejuvenators, modifiers, and aging of asphalt materials.

What inspired you to study engineering and chemistry?
I have always had an interest in science and a desire for intellectual challenge. Since I was very young I have sought to understand the driving forces and processes behind all things around me. I decided to study chemistry in college and follow in my grandfather’s footsteps. Very soon, through chemistry, I got involved in asphalt science. When I was finalizing my master’s in inorganic chemistry, I had the opportunity to meet Professor Hussain Bahia during an asphalt conference in Brazil. This connection changed my life and led me to join the Modified Asphalt Research Center (MARC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At MARC, the experience of being surrounded by very talented people from all over the world created something that made a real difference in my life, and for that, I am very grateful. Everything that I learned from engineering, combined with my passion for chemistry, allowed me to delve much deeper into the science than I ever had before. The combination of both chemistry and engineering encouraged me to carve out an area of expertise for myself.

Do you consider yourself a chemist or engineer?
I think that the asphalt field is very unique in a sense that it brings together people from many different backgrounds. At a typical meeting, you can find pavement engineers, chemists, modeling experts, and many other types of specialists. I think of myself as a material scientist and I try to combine the world of engineering and chemistry.

Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Fortaleza, a city and port of Brazil and the capital of the state of Ceará. This beautiful city has a combination of sunny beaches, delicious cuisine, the rich Brazilian culture, and very peaceful and friendly people.

You relocated from Texas to the “The Loveliest Village On The Plains.” What drew you to make the move to Auburn?
The opportunity of working for a globally recognized research center was a very special distinction for me. While Auburn is far from Houston, it offers excellent research opportunities, which for a person who enjoys doing research, are hard to pass up.

What excites you most about joining the NCAT team?
The immediate impact that the work done here has had on the industry. It is amazing to see how quickly some technologies that have been initiated here are translated to the field. The opportunity of being part of this process excites me the most. I hope that the unique skill set that I bring to the table will give the NCAT research an edge in pursuing the innovative technologies proposed by NCAT researchers and its partners.

Tell us about your personal life and interests.
I am a person very blessed by God, and my faith is involved in every aspect of my life. I have by my side my lovely husband that I love very much, and I have a beautiful family that supports me from afar. I am strong-minded and often driven by a cause, and this helps me to set goals and to overcome obstacles. I believe in integrity, maintaining a positive attitude, and in charity and compassion, because we can grow as individuals by reaching out to others.