Kelly Simmons-Potter is a professor of electrical and computer engineering, optical sciences, and materials science and engineering at the University of Arizona. She also serves as director of the Arizona Research Initiative for Solar Energy, or AzRISE, and as a professor in the Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Systems Graduate Interdisciplinary Program.

Simmons-Potter spent nearly 10 years at Sandia National Laboratories, from 1994 to 2003, ending in the position of principal member of technical staff and project manager for Advanced Optical Technologies. In 2003 she left Sandia Labs to return to academia at the University of Arizona.

Simmons-Potter is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and is the co-author of three textbooks in the field of optics. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications, has delivered more than 150 scholarly presentations, and holds several patents.

In 1995 she received the Norbert J. Kreidl Award from ACerS for her work in the field of photosensitive optical materials. In 2005 and 2012 she was honored by the Hardened Electronics and Radiation Technology Society with Outstanding Paper of the Year awards for her work in radiation-hardened optical materials. She served on the Executive Committee of the Glass and Optical Materials Division of ACerS between 2009 and 2013; as executive editor of the Journal of Radiation Effects Research and Engineering from 2015 to 2018; and is currently serving as the vice chair of the Steering Committee for the Hardened Electronics and Radiation Technology Society.


  • PhD Optical Sciences - University of Arizona, 1994
  • MS Optical Sciences - University of Arizona, 1990
  • BS Physics - Florida State University, 1986

Teaching Interests: Optics, optical materials, solid-state optics and electronics, solar and renewable energy, and electromagnetics

Research Interests: Renewable energy systems, and linear and nonlinear response of optical materials and devices to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.