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Environmental scientist receives Alumni Achievement Award

Martin-alumni-award-80RICHLAND, Wash. – Wayne J. Martin, recently retired from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as acting chief operations officer for national security directorate, was honored Friday with the Washington State University Alumni Association (WSUAA) Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of career achievements, mentorship of aspiring scientists and service to education in the Tri-Cities community.

Throughout his career, Martin has served as an environmental scientist, project manager and line manager on a broad range of geologic and geochemical issues as they relate to the natural environment, groundwater monitoring and hazardous waste characterization. He has been a positive role model and mentor to underrepresented scientists and students in his community.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management in 1978 from WSU, a master’s degree in radiological sciences from the University of Washington and a doctorate in environmental and natural resource sciences in 1996 from WSU.

Alumni award honoree Wayne J. Martin, right, with Rob Ellsworth, past president of the WSU Alumni Association.

As a project management office director for chemical, biological and nuclear surety at PNNL, he had oversight of more than 100 research projects that were primarily laboratory intensive. PNNL is located near the Hanford Site, which has the largest quantity of radioactive waste in the world; some of Martin’s research was related to understanding contaminant migration from that waste.

He mentors graduate students at PNNL and supports student intern involvement. He has provided leadership in organizations promoting education, including the WSU Tri-Cities advisory council and the advisory board for local MESA (mathematics, science and engineering achievement) for middle and high school students.

Martin is on the Kadlec Health System board of directors, is a member of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges and has chaired the board of trustees at Columbia Basin College.

His awards include: 2011 Distinguished Alumnus from WSU Tri-Cities; 2010 Community Stewardship from the Black History Month Committee at PNNL; 2010 Trustee of the Year for the State of Washington Community and Technical College System; 2008 America’s Most Accomplished African-American Scientists from the Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal; 2007 Black Engineer of the Year for Community Service from the Council of Dean of Engineering of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and U.S. Black Engineer Magazine; 2004 One of 50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science from Science Spectrum Magazine; and 2003 Laboratory Director’s Award (Fitzner-Eberhardt Award) for Outstanding Contributions to Science and Engineering Education from PNNL.

The WSUAA Alumni Achievement Award was created in 1970 by the WSUAA Board of Directors to recognize alumni who have given outstanding service to WSU and made contributions to their professions and communities. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association. Of an estimated 250,000 students who have attended WSU, Martin is the 514th Alumni Achievement Award recipient.


Wayne J. Martin, PNNL, 509-531-7465,
Christina Parrish, WSU alumni engagement, 509-335-6907,



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