Scientist receives U.S. Navy's
Meritorious Civilian Service Award
special to The Star
August 24, 2003
STENNIS SPACE CENTER Dr. Brenda J. Little's work in electron microscopy, biomineralization and corrosion mechanisms have helped further the U. S. Navy as a world leader in identifying and understanding microbiologically-influenced corrosion.
It was for these achievements that Little was awarded the third-highest award a Navy civilian employee can earn the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
The award is presented for extraordinary service, specific achievements or accomplishments, or heroism in a life-threatening situation.
Little's award recognized her meritorious achievements and dedication to the U.S. Navy and the Naval Research Laboratory while serving as senior scientist for the Marine Molecular Processes Branch.
As senior scientist, Little applies extensive scientific insight, expertise and creativity to a wide range of problems in research chemistry, corrosion, biodegradation and bioremediation processes.
She also provides scientific expertise and direction, and leads her research teams in the development of new and innovative approaches to the characterization and quantification of marine molecular processes.
Little was the first to use environmental scanning to demonstrate artifacts introduced into biofilms by the dehydration and fixation procedures used by previous scanning electron microscope studies.
This ground-breaking work is the first to evaluate metal/microbe interactions in a hydrated environment.
Her work with biomineralizaiton has allowed the identification of mineralogical fingerprints for MIC of copper and iron alloys. Little demonstrated that biological processes results in the formation of minerals not predicted by thermodynamic arguments.
Little has maintained a record of superior performance since her initial employment with the Naval Research Laboratory in 1976 (then known as the Naval Ocean Research and Development Activity) in the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Branch.
She moved to supervisory oceanographer, acting branch head in 1985; principal investigator, Biological and Chemical Oceanography Branch in 1986; supervisory research chemist in 1992; and senior scientist in 1996.
She was awarded the Naval Research Laboratory Alan Berman Research Publication Awards three times and the Best Patent and Publication Award.
Little serves on the editorial boards for the Journals of Corrosion, Biofouling, and Trends in Corrosion Research, and on the National Association of Corrosion Engineers Research and Publication Committees.
She is an adjunct professor for Montana State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Her publications include more than 75 primary authored journal articles, numerous book chapters and technical reports and notes. She has received a patent and has been recognized by other professional organizations, including Women in Science and Engineering, and NACE.
Little earned her bachelor of science degree in biology/chemistry from Baylor University and her doctorate in chemistry from Tulane University.
She credits her high school chemistry teacher, Ms. Jerry Baier, with having encouraged her to pursue a college education in chemistry. Little resides in Diamondhead.