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The White House
For Immediate Release

President Obama Honors Outstanding Early-Career Scientists


President Obama today named 100 beginning researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The recipient scientists and engineers will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony.

The Presidential Early Career Awards embody the high priority the Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the nation’s goals and contribute to all sectors of the economy. Nine Federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers—researchers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for strengthening America’s leadership in science and technology and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.

"These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. "With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."

The awards, established by President Clinton in February 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected on the basis of two criteria: Pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Winning scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.

The Awards are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy with the National Science Foundation and other participating Federal agencies and departments.

This year’s recipients are:

Department of Agriculture

David H. McNear Jr., University of Kentucky
Dean E. Pearson, Rocky Mt. Res. Station
Erica Spackman, Poultry Res. Lab/USDA

Department of Commerce

Craig Brown, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Michael C. Coniglio, National Severe Storms Laboratory
Dana H. Hanselman, Auke Bay Laboratory
Pamela L. Heinselman, National Severe Storms Laboratory
Dean DeLongchamp, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Till P. Rosenband, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Department of Defense

David P. Arnold, University of Florida
Seth R. Bank, University of Texas, Austin
Christopher W. Bielawski, University of Texas, Austin
Elizabeth Boon, Stony Brook University
Markus J. Buehler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Scott A. Craver, Binghamton University
John O. Dabiri, California Institute of Technology
Chris L. Dwyer, Duke University
Gregory S. Engel, University of Chicago
Thomas H. Epps III, University of Delaware
Gregory A. Fiete, University of Texas, Austin
Oliver Fringer, Stanford University
Anthony Grbic, University of Michigan
Carlos E. Guestrin, Carnegie Mellon University
Michael A. Hickner, Penn State University
Michael J. Hochberg, University of Washington
Yu Huang, University of California, Los Angeles
Gregory H. Huff, Texas A&M University
Jacob L. Jones, University of Florida
Sanjay Kumar, University of California, Berkeley
Xiaoqin Li, University of Texas, Austin
Mathew M. Maye, Syracuse University
Leigh S. McCue-Weil, Virginia Polytechnic University
Beverley J. McKeon, California Institute of Technology
Anastasia H. Muliana, Texas A&M University
Ryan P. O'Hayre, Colorado School of Mines
Jiwoong Park, Cornell University
Susan E. Parks, Penn State University
Jason R. Petta, Princeton University
Justin K. Romberg, Georgia Institute of Technology
Adrienne D. Stiff-Roberts, Duke University
Benjamin R. tenOever, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Joel A. Tropp, California Institute of Technology
Derek H. Warner, Cornell University
Sharon M. Weiss, Vanderbilt University
Patrick J. Wolfe, Harvard University
Robert J. Wood, Harvard University
Tanya Zelevinsky, Columbia University
Jianglong Zhang, University of North Dakota
Xiaolin Zheng, Stanford University
Rashid Zia, Brown University

Department of Education

Nonie K. Lesaux, Harvard University
Katherine A. Rawson, Kent State University

Department of Energy

Cecilia R. Aragon, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Gary A. Baker, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Joshua A. Breslau, Princeton Plasma Physics
Gianluigi Ciovati, Thomas Jefferson Lab National Accelerator Facility
Stefan P. Gerhardt, Princeton Plasma Physics
Lynford L. Goddard, University of Illinois
Jason Graetz, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Jeffrey B. Neaton, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Thao D. Nguyen, Johns Hopkins University
Paul Sorensen, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Alexandre M. Tartakovsky, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Ivan Vitev, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Melina R. Kibbe, Jesse Brown VA
Alexander H. Sox-Harris, Palo Alto VA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Benjamin E. Smith, University of Washington
Joshua K. Willis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services

Thomas P. Cappola, University of Pennsylvania
Pablo A. Celnik, Johns Hopkins University
Felicia D. Goodrum, University of Arizona
Bruce J. Hinds III, University of Kentucky
Helen H. Lu, Columbia University
Ulrike Peters, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Jeremy F. Reiter, University of California, San Francisco
Marisa Roberto, The Scripps Research Institute
Erica O. Saphire, The Scripps Research Institute
Oscar E. Suman, Shriner's Hospital, University of Texas
Kristin V. Tarbell, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Gonzalo E. Torres, University of Pittsburgh

National Science Foundation

Maria M. Calbi, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Amy B. Cerato, University of Oklahoma
Ioannis Chasiotis, University of Illinois
Monica F. Cox, Purdue University
Cameron R. Currie, University of Wisconsin
Joel L. Dawson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jimmy de la Torre, Rutgers University
Roland G. Fryer Jr., Harvard University
Sean Hallgren, Penn State University
John M. Herbert, Ohio State University
Steven D. Jacobsen, Northwestern University
Charles R. Keeton II, Rutgers University
Chun Ning Lau, University of California, Riverside
Hao Lin, Rutgers University
Harmit S. Malik, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Rada F. Mihalcea, University of North Texas
Scott R. Sheffield, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Zuzanna S. Siwy, University of California, Irvine
Adam D. Smith, Penn State University
Joy K. Ward, University of Kansas

Note to regional reporters: For more information about, or interviews with, local winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, please contact the awardees’ home institution or agency.


OSTP was created by Congress in 1976 to serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government. Specifically, OSTP is authorized to:

  • Advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the impacts of science and technology on domestic and international affairs
  • Lead interagency efforts to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets
  • Work with the private sector to ensure that federal investments in science and technology contribute to economic prosperity, environmental quality, and national security
  • Build strong partnerships among the federal government; state and local governments; other countries; and the scientific community
  • Evaluate the scale, quality, and effectiveness of the federal effort in science and technology

For more information on OSTP, visit