On Tuesday, President Barack Obama chose 102 scientists and researchers, including four Indian Americans, as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
It is the highest honor given by the US government to scientists and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The honor is recognition for keeping the US on the cutting edge with their innovations.
“I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work,” Obama said in a statement. “These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”
The four Indian-origin scientists are Kaushik Chowdhury from Northeastern University (Department of Defense), Manish Arora from Icahn School of Medicine (Department of Health and Human Services), Pankaj Lal from Montclair State University (Department of Agriculture) and Aradhna Tripati from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) (National Science Foundation).
The awards were established by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and the awards highlight the key role that the administration places in encouraging and accelerating American innovation to grow our economy and tackle our greatest challenges, the White House said.
Employers and funders among the 2017 recipients include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution and the Intelligence Community, it said.
Chowdhury, who received his PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology, directs the Next Generation Networks and Systems (GENESYS) Lab. He is the winner of the “NSF CAREER” award in 2015 and the Office of Naval Research Director of Research Early Career Award in 2016.
Manish Arora, whose work for the Department of Health and Human Services earned him this award, is a Dentistry Associate Professor in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is also the director of Exposure Biology at the Senator Frank Lautenberg Environment Health Sciences Laboratory in the Department of Preventive Medicine. Arora graduated with a Ph.D from the University of Sydney in 2006, and undertook postgraduate fellowship training at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Lal, who earned his Master’s from Delhi School of Economics, is an associate professor in the department of earth and environmental studies at Montclair. Undertaking interdisciplinary research that explores interconnections among society and the environment, he has been working on environmental economics and economic geography, human dimensions of ecosystem management, natural resource conservation and policy and climate change.
Tripati holds a PhD in Earth Sciences form the University of California, Santa Cruz and a BSc in Geology from the California State University, Los Angles. Currently she works as an Assistant Professor at University of California, Los Angles and bagged the honor for her work for the National Science Foundation.