Arianna T. Morales, Ph.D., was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She graduated as a Metallurgical Engineer from the Universidad Simon Bolivar and went on to graduate from the Universidad Simon Bolivar Master of Engineering (Materials Science) program. Later, she was hired by the Instituto de Ingenieria de Venezuela (Venezuelan Institute of Engineering) to work on a project with the Venezuelan Oil Industry Research Institute (INTEVEP). After the Institute of Engineering, Morales returned to the Universidad Simon Bolivar as an Assistant Professor. She later joined the Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After completion of her Ph.D., Morales accepted a postdoctoral position (Research Assistant) at the Materials Science and Engineering Department in Carnegie Mellon University in Professor Richard Fruehan’s group, where she worked directly with graduate students from Taiwan, Japan, China, and the United States, gaining hands-on experience in a wide range of topics related to ironmaking and steelmaking.
Morales was hired as a Research Engineer at the General Motors (GM) Research and Development Center in Warren, Michigan. She joined a special R&D team dedicated to the design, build, and startup of a first-of-its-kind plant dedicated to the manufacturing of automotive aluminum parts using the Quick Plastic Forming Method. Morales maximized her international experiences, teaming with colleagues from around the world in GM's highly diverse and multicultural Global Research and Development Center and working both with peers and leadership to implement ideas by using her expertise and multicultural sensibility. Her work at GM R&D relates to many issues. Morales is now a Staff Research Scientist at General Motors Global Research and Development. She develops novel materials and material processing techniques primarily to reduce the weight of vehicles, improving their efficiency either through fuel economy or electric range, without sacrificing safety or increasing cost.
Morales is a regular supporter of not-for-profit organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, focusing on LGBTQ equality in the state of Michigan. She specially understands the impact of “coming out” in the corporate world as a way to pursue equality, tolerance, and respect for all. She actively participated in the fight for LGBTQ rights in Michigan in several capacities, including serving as a board member in GM PLUS (People Like Us), the employee resource group for LGBTQ employees and allies at GM. GM PLUS generates awareness throughout GM for LGBTQ issues and the value to GM of adopting employee policies to support equality. She also served for nine years on the board of Affirmations LGBTQ Community Center, which provides a safe space for the community and allies in the Metro Detroit Area.
Morales is proud of being a Latina, first generation immigrant, and member of the LGBTQ community. Her background and life experiences have granted her a unique perspective on economic and social issues facing businesses today. A particular qualification is her extensive work in R&D at a time when science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are so critical to the U.S. and global economies.