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News Release 99-008

NSF-Supported New Scientists and Engineers Receive Presidential Award

February 10, 1999

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 Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.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 awarded 20 National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported researchers, including nine women and three minorities, with the 1998 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This third annual presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding new scientists and engineers who are in the early stages of establishing their independent research careers.

Among nine participating federal agencies, there were 60 total PECASE winners in 1998. NSF awardees are receiving collectively a total of $10 million to further their achievements and PECASE goals. The Clinton Administration established the awards in February, 1996, in order to meet its goals of recognizing some of the nation's finest scientists and engineers and maintaining U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific research into the 21st century. The awards are given to foster innovative and influential developments in science and technology, to increase awareness of careers in science and engineering and to recognize the scientific missions of the federal agencies. NSF awardees have demonstrated a special commitment to the integration of research and education.

"These talented young men and women show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge," President Clinton said. "Their passion for discovery will spark our can-do spirit of technological innovation and drive this nation forward and build a better America for the twenty-first century."

"These are the 'Golden Globe Awards' for the Albert Einsteins and Marie Curies of tomorrow--our nation's most promising scientist and engineering educators," said NSF director Rita Colwell.

NSF awardees will receive $500,000 each over a five-year period to further their research and educational efforts. The PECASE awards recognize the research contributions and commitment to broader societal goals of these scientist-scholars as well as advances in science that serve important government missions.

NSF now selects its PECASE nominees from a pool of its most meritorious CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development award) winners. The CAREER award supports exceptionally promising college and university junior faculty who are committed to the integration of research and education. CAREER awards range from $200,000 to $500,000 for a period of four to five years. Last month, NSF honored 338 outstanding new science and engineering educators-scholars nationwide with the 1998 CAREER awards, totaling approximately $80 million. The 1998 CAREER awardees were selected from among more than 1,600 applicants. The 1998 PECASE awardees were selected from among 1,122 applicants. There are about 1,400 total NSF CAREER and PECASE award recipients to date. Only 60 hold the presidential honor.


Editors: Eligibility criteria are described on NSF's web site

The 1998 PECASE award recipients are listed below. Photos and additional information is available at:

NSF Winners of the 1998 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) honored 20 outstanding faculty members nationwide in fiscal 1998 with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Biological Sciences
  • Robert B. Jackson, Duke University

    For innovative contributions in ecology, global change and science education, specifically on root distributions for carbon and water cycling in terrestrial ecosystems.

  • Gina M. MacDonald, James Madison University

    For outstanding contributions to understanding the biophysical/biochemical bases of DNA repair and recombination, and for involving undergraduates and science teachers in this research.

  • Hudson Kern Reeve, Cornell University

    For outstanding research on ecological and genetic factors in behavior and demography of social wasps, and sharing the excitement of discovery with tomorrow's behavioral biologists.
Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • Pei Cao, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    For outstanding innovations in cache methods to improve WWW servers and global Internet efficiency, and for new tools for realistic Internet simulators for student use.

  • Sugih Jamin, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

    To recognize excellent scholarship on using microeconomic methods to control traffic admitted into data networks, and outstanding contributions to undergraduate and graduate education.

  • Gregory H. Leazer, University of California-Los Angeles.

    For original contributions to understanding human-centered methods for locating information in complex digital library systems, and introducing these concepts to undergraduates and graduates.

  • Venugopal V. Veeravalli, Cornell University

    To recognize outstanding research on improving wireless communication services, and innovations addressing different learning styles in addition to involving industry in student design projects.
  • Eric I. Altman, Yale University

    For developing innovative concepts and student laboratories in the characterization and processing of ultrathin-film growth with the addition of metal surfactants.

  • Christopher J. Diorio, University of Washington-Seattle.

    For innovative contributions to research and multidisciplinary education in VLSI design, using neurally inspired silicon learning.

  • Rhonda Franklin Drayton, University of Minnesota.

    For outstanding contribution to micromachined package and circuit design techniques for high frequency electronic/photonic communication systems, and for inspiring undergraduate learning through innovative pedagogy.

  • Shirley J. Dyke, Washington University-St. Louis.

    For excellence in mitigating structural damage from seismic events using semi- active control systems, and providing hands-on experiences for graduate, undergraduate and K-12 students.

  • Julie Anne Jacko, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    For innovations in matching partially sighted computer users with hardware/software combinations allowing them to use graphical interfaces, and for developing graduate courses on related technologies.

  • Daniel F. Walczyk, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

    For creative advances in rapid tooling methods in layered manufacturing and for development of undergraduate and graduate courses in design and manufacturing.
  • Scot T. Martin, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

    For innovative development of a quantitative model for phase changes of internally mixed inorganic atmospheric aerosol particles, and infusing discovery through courses and undergraduate research.
Mathematics and Physical Sciences
  • Mario Affatigato, Coe College.

    For novel approaches to the characterization of the properties of glass, and for educational outreach to high schools and communities of disadvantaged youth.

  • Alexander Barvinok, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

    For original application of geometric combinatorics to optimization and algorithmic problems, and development of a series of undergraduate courses on related topics.

  • Janet M. Conrad, Columbia University

    For original contributions to measuring neutrino mass and connecting the measurement techniques to applications in medicine to inspire undergraduate and K-12 students.

  • Cassandra L. Fraser, University of Virginia.

    For outstanding research in metal-core macromolecules and redesign of undergraduate and graduate courses.

  • Elizabeth A. Lada, University of Florida.

    For ground-breaking exploration and documentation of star forming histories of stellar clusters, development of undergraduate and graduate courses, and outreach to high school girls.
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
  • Nalini Ambody, Harvard University

    For fundamental contributions to understanding accuracy of social judgments based on "thin slices" of information, and development of undergraduate and graduate courses on related topics.

Media Contacts
K. Lee Herring, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
Janet Rutledge, NSF, (703) 292-8384, 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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