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Victoria DiStefano

Energy Science and Engineering PhD, 2018


Supervising Faculty: Larry Anovitz

 A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Victoria earned her Bachelor’s in Environmental Geosciences from the University of Notre Dame. During her time as an undergrad, she performed research in the Center for Material Sciences of Actinides relating to the safe storage and disposal of spent waste from nuclear power plants. She would like to continue her work in the field of energy, but focus on improving the carbon emissions of current and future fuels. This includes improvements in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract natural gas and geologic carbon sequestration. Her current research investigates the structure of shales, the rock formations which contain the hydrocarbons released by hydraulic fracturing. She examines the pore structure, mineral structure, type and location of organic matter, and the development of fractures using techniques such as Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and Neutron Imaging. She also uses these techniques to investigate the complexity of how fluids migrate in hydraulically fractured systems in order to better understand ways to improve the efficiency, economics, and environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing. She would also like to apply this knowledge and expertise to Energy Policy, educating policy makers on the realities, economic and environmental, of energy extraction.


Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking), Oil & Gas Recovery, Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Energy Policy

DiStefano photo


Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geoscience (minor in Energy Studies) – University of Notre Dame

Awards and Recognitions

  • Selected for Higher European Research Course for Users of Large Experimental Systems (HERCULES) a five-week course on neutron and synchrotron radiation for science in Grenoble, France (March 2016 – April 2016).
  • Received a Travel Award from the Graduate Student Senate to attend the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in December 2016
  • Selected for National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) Summer School, a week long course on the Fundamentals of Neutron Scattering (July 2014).


Google Scholar profile: Victoria DiStefano

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