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News Release 97-065

Twenty NSF-Supported Young Scientists and Engineers Receive Presidential Award

October 24, 1997

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

President Clinton today named 20 young National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported researchers, nine of whom are women, and eight of whom are engineers, to receive the second annual Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The presidential honor is the highest bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding young scientists and engineers who are in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Sixty awards were announced overall, spread among eight federal agencies.

The awards were established by President Clinton in February, 1996, in order to meet the Administration's goals of producing the finest scientists and engineers for the 21st century while maintaining U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific research.

"These gifted young professionals exemplify the best of our science and technology community and will help set the scientific pace for the U.S. and the world in the years ahead," said the President. "Their passion for discovery and their determination to explore new scientific frontiers will drive this nation forward and build a better America for the twenty-first century."

Ten government agencies join together annually to nominate the promising scientists and engineers who will receive up to $500,000 over a five-year period to further their research. The young scholars are recognized through these awards for their research contributions, their promise and for their commitment to broader societal goals. In addition, their work supports advances in science for important government missions.

NSF selects its nominees for the presidential early career awards from a group of its most meritorious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program scientists and engineers. They have received NSF support because of exceptional research and leadership potential in their fields, and their integrated contributions to research and education.

The presidential early career awards will be presented in a White House ceremony on November 3.


Editors: Eligibility criteria are described in the NSF program announcement NSF 97-87, or see On this site, select Crosscutting Programs, then, select again on Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. NSF Winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers



Jill E. Bargonetti
Hunter College of City University of New York

Scholarly work in cancer-related studies of cell growth and gene expression and involvement of undergraduate, graduate, and especially minority students in the discovery process.

Peter N. Belhumeur
Yale University

Innovative concepts and student laboratories in appearance-based modeling for computer applications, and forging interdisciplinary links to physiology of human vision.

Geoffrey E. Hill
Auburn University

Original contributions to understanding evolutionary biology, specifically avian sexual selection, and integrating a fundamental research program with public science education.

Daniel P. Lathrop
Emory University
(now at Univ. of Maryland)

Innovative contributions to research and education of undergraduates in non-linear properties of fluid interfaces relevant to understanding turbulence, optical fibers, and black holes.

Jon P. Longtin
State Univ. of New York at Stony Brook

Research on laser-liquid interactions important in manufacturing, materials processing, and biological systems and outreach activities for high school students and prospective teachers.

Timothy A. McKay
University of Michigan

Contributions to a major optical sky survey, particularly the interpretation of gravitational lensing, and for involving the public and students at all educational levels in research activities.

Ann M. Sastry
University of Michigan

Research on predictive models for selection and repair of fibrous materials such as those used in structural design or human biology and introducing students to interdisciplinary team learning.

Steven W. McLaughlin
Georgia Inst. of Technology

Leadership in the development of optical recording systems capable of storing information in high-capacity non-binary formats and development of novel courses in communication theory.

Renee J. Miller
Ohio State University

Contributions to solving problems of schematic heterogeneity in database-management systems and retaining women and minorities in computer science.

David P. Morton
University of Texas at Austin

Innovative research on computational methods for large-scale systems optimization and decision-making in the utilities industry, finance, and manufacturing and helping students gain industrial experience.

Linda K. Nozick
Cornell University

Development of innovative solutions to problems associated with transportation of hazardous waste and incorporating non-tradtional skills into undergraduate transportation engineering courses.

Katherine Okikiolu
University of California at San Diego

Innovative research in geometric analysis, particularly the determinant of the Laplacian under smooth perturbations, and developing student workshops and mathematics curricula for inner-city children.

Lori A. Setton
Duke University

Leadership in education and research in understanding and restoring biomechanical functions to tissue degenerated by injury or aging, especially in the spine.

Jaswinder P. Singh
Princeton University

Contributions to computer engineering education and research in the area of parallel architecture and software development, including results applicable to protein structure determination.

Eileen M. Spain
Occidental College

Contributions to the synthesis of thin films essential to fabrication of reliable semiconductor materials and providing laser laboratory opportunities to high school students.

Florence I. Thomas
Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Interdisciplinary research on the impact of organisms on nutrient and pollution flow in marine environments and development of an interactive display in a public aquarium.

Lonny L. Thompson
Clemson University

Scholarly work on predictive models for structural acoustics applicable to noise suppression and sonar tracking and facilitating student involvement in real-world engineering problems.

Daniel W. van der Weide
University of Delaware

Pioneering research on nanoscale-dimension electronic circuits and development of a web-based virtual laboratory that provides student access to advanced scientific instrumentation.

Patricia A. Van Zandt
Johns Hopkins University

Contributions to cognitive research and education, especially in development of mathematical and computer models for perception, cognition and decision-making.

Miguel Velez-Reyes
University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

Contributions to engineering education and research on power systems applicable to large systems that transfer power among multiple suppliers in the electric power industry.

Media Contacts
William C. Noxon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
Margaret Cavanaugh, NSF, (703) 292-8500, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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