Carmela Amato-Wierda

Carmela Amato-Wierda

Associate Professor of Materials Science
Faculty Director of Tech Camp


  • Ph.D. in Chemistry,1993, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • M.S. in Chemistry, 1991, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • B.A. cum laude Chemistry and Physics, 1988, Harvard University


Dr. Amato-Wierda formally changed her research activities in 2009 to the area of cognition and how it impacts learning of STEM concepts. She is interested in exploring the learning mechanisms necessary for students to develop their conceptual understanding of key concepts in chemistry and physics from k-16. Dr. Amato-Wierda spent her Fall 2010 Sabbatical period at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, visiting the laboratory of Dr. Kurt Fischer and learning his Dynamic Skill Theory, as well as other state-of-the-art models and theories of human cognition. During this time, she also met Dr. Theo Dawson, CEO and President of Developmental Testing Service, Inc, as well as Zachary Stein, Deputy Director and Senior Analyst at DTS, Inc. 

Dr. Amato-Wierda has developed two new general education science courses for non-STEM students. The Science of Stuff is an introductory course in materials science that demonstrates how atomic structure influences the properties and function of matter.Nanoscience and Energy explores nanoscience and its role in providing energy for society in the future.

Additionally, Dr. Amato-Wierda has served as PI for these previously NSF funded curriculum improvement efforts: (1) General Chemistry Investigations: An Interdisciplinary, Research Team Laboratory, and (2) Implementation of a Materials Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory Component Across the Undergraduate Science and Engineering Curriculum. Dr. Amato-Wierda also played an active role in developing the new graduate program in Materials Science at the University of New Hampshire.

Dr. Amato-Wierda is the faculty advisor for the UNH Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. She served on the New Hampshire Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers from 2001-2011, and currently serves on the Air Resources Council for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Teaching Interests:

  • MS401 The Science of Stuff
  • MS402 Nanoscience and Energy
  • MS900 Materials Science Seminar
  • MS965 Advanced Thin Film and Surface Characterization
  • MS860 Thermodynamics of Materials

Research Areas:

  • applying recent advances from the cognitive sciences to determine learning sequences for physical science concepts and scientific reasoning during the K-16 years
  • using novel assessments to measure understanding of physical science concepts from K-16
  • discovering learning mechanisms of physical science concepts and scientific reasoning during the K-16 years
  • designing curriculum and pedagogies to provide developmentally organized learning sequences of physical science concepts

Select Publications:

  1. Enhanced Bulk Polysilicon Production Using Silicon Tubes. Ijaz Jafri, Mohan Chandra, Hui Zhang, Vish Prasad, Chandra Reddy, Carmela C. Amato-Wierda, Marc Landry and Ted Ciszek. J. Crystal Growth, 2001, 255, 330-334.
  2. Kinetic and Mechanistic Studies of the Thermal Decomposition of Ti(NMe2)4 During Chemical Vapor Deposition by In Situ Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry. Edward T. Norton, Jr. and Carmela C. Amato-Wierda, Chemistry of Materials, 2001, 13, 4655-4660.
  3. Gas Phase Analysis of TiCl4 Plasma Processes By Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry. Derk Andrew Wierda, Chandra M. Reddy and Carmela C. Amato-Wierda, Surface and Coatings Technology, 2001, 148, 256-261.
  4. Kinetics and Mechanism Relevant to TiSiN Chemical Vapor Deposition from TDMAT, Silane, and Ammonia. Edward T. Norton, Jr. and Carmela C. Amato-Wierda, Surface and Coatings Technology, 2001, 148, 251-255.
  5. Silane Activation by Ti(NMe2)4 and NH3 During Chemical Vapor Deposition of Ti-Si-N Films. Carmela C. Amato-Wierda, Edward T. Norton, Jr., and Derk A. Wierda. Chem. Mater. 1999, 11, 2775-2779.
  6. Chemprojects: A Research-based Interdisciplinary General Chemistry Laboratory for Science and Engineering Students. Carmela Amato-Wierda, Christopher Bauer, Eleanor Abrams, David Bourgeois, and Anneliese Mueller. Presented at the ACS Meeting, Boston, August 1998.
Portrait of Carmela Amato-Wierda
Parsons Hall N121
23 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2526