Obama to Award Pittsburgh Professors for Their Contribution to Science and TechnologyBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Dr. Yongjie (Jessica) Zhang, a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Brian Anderson, West Virginia University chemical engineer, have been named among 102 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
"The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead," President Obama said in a statement. "We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America's global leadership for many years to come."
The award represents "the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers," a White House statement said.
Established by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, the award is presented to exceptional scientists and engineers attempting to solve global challenges, nation's goals, and pushing forward the American economy.
Zhang, 40, has been lauded for her work in computer engineering for boat design. Allen Robinson, who heads CMU's department of mechanical engineering, said that Zang is a young rising star among faculty members.
"Essentially, she develops algorithms to allow computers to better represent or visualize physical objects such as a ship, a heart, etc.," Robinson said. The Navy has interest in her technology to improve ship design, leading to the award. Her technology, however, has more expansive applications, Post-Gazette reports.
"Any problem that an engineer would use a computer to try to solve would benefit from Jessica's technology."
Anderson, a 35-year-old native of Ripley, W.Va, is being lauded for his focus on richer and cleaner sources of energy. The United States is constantly looking out for alternative sources of energy.
"Dr. Anderson is an exceptional researcher," says Scott Klara, NETL acting director. "His commitment to energy security, leadership in scientific matters, and dedication to excellence in education put him among the top energy professionals in the country."
While Zang earned his doctoral degree from the University of Texas in Austin, Anderson received his doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.