Valerie J. Kuck received her B.S. degree from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana followed by an M.S. degree from Purdue University where she did her thesis on "A Study of the Direct Synthesis of Biphenylene Silanes" with Professor Grant Urry. After a two-year stint at Owens- Illinois in Toledo, Ohio, she moved to Bell Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey, then part of AT&T. Over the past thirty-four years, she has worked in many different areas of chemical research. Her early efforts were in fundamental science, especially the spectroscopy of reactive carbene and nitrene intermediates. Later she did research in the area of polymeric coatings that are used in copper wiring and optical fibers, focusing on understanding and preventing the oxidative degradation of coating materials. In other work, she was able to take advantage of her knowledge of siloxane chemistry to use these unique materials in such diverse areas as low-dielectric constant porous polymers and heat resistant optical fiber coatings. Her work has been awarded 18 U.S. patents.
She has had a parallel career in the American Chemical Society, where she has played a leadership role in many activities. Several national and local section awards have recognized her contributions.
Valerie is married to Mark Kuck, an inorganic chemist who was also a member of the Urry group. They have two children, Melissa, who has an undergraduate degree in chemistry and is now in her third year at M.C.P. Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and Justin, who recently received his master's degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford. In her spare time, she chairs the North Jersey Section's National Chemistry Week activities and is a national and local section career consultant.