Barbara Hughes received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Colorado State University in 2005. At Colorado State, while working under Professor Debbie Crans, she investigated vanadium compounds for their insulin mimetic properties, and gained experience in solution characterization of vanadium (V) compounds using spectroscopic techniques such as V(V)-NMR and EPR. She received her master's degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. Here, once again, with an emphasis on bioinorganic research, she investigated smart MRI contrast agents for detecting biological iron, under the direction of Professor Christopher Chang. In 2013, Barbara earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder, under the direction of Arthur Nozik; she conducted her research entirely at NREL, where her research focuses included synthesis, surface functionalization, and spectroscopic characterization of novel semiconducting nanocrystals for photovoltaic devices. Currently, her postdoctoral research is being performed with Tom Gennett in the Chemical and Materials Science group. She is investigating fundamental charge transfer processes in stable organic radical-containing polymers.