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College of Engineering faculty win many prestigious research awards, an important measure of scholarship stature. One is the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award. Here we highlight our many winners.

Funding. Each award of approximately $500,000 over 5 years advances the career trajectory and potential impact of outstanding junior faculty. Further, funded projects frequently provide cutting-edge opportunities for student researchers. Faculty across the country submit integrated research and educational outreach project proposals, and the NSF selects approximately 600 winners each year. The NSF funds only about 14–24% of applicants.

Award Recipients

Since college inception in 1997, our faculty have earned a commanding 25 National Science Foundation CAREER awards. Click links for more about our winners or to view project abstracts at the funder website.

2023 — Benjamin Johnson (Electrical and Computer Engineering). Multi-channel, Sub-microliter Implants for Selective Neuromodulation. Abstract

2022 — Casey Kennington (Computer Science). Integrating Interaction, Embodiment, and Emotion to Transform Language Models. Abstract

2022 — Mahmood Mamivand (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering). Advancing nanostructure & interface science for permanent magnets without rare earth materials. Abstract

2020 — Clare Fitzpatrick (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering). Computational Modeling to Predict Subject-Specific Osteoarthritis Risk and Facilitate Treatment. Abstract

2020 — Mike Hurley (Materials Science and Engineering). Resolving the Origins of Microgalvanic Corrosion on Metal Surfaces. Abstract

2020 — Catherine Olschanowsky (Computer Science). Compilation Processes to Enhance Dataflow Optimizations. Abstract

2020 — Elena Sherman (Computer Science). Computing Program Invariants using Abstract Domains Search. Abstract

2020 — Francesca Spezzano (Computer Science). Enhanced Analysis & Algorithms to Minimize the Spread of Misinformation in Social Networks. Abstract


2019 — Dave Estrada (Materials Science and Engineering). Graphene as a Bioscaffold for Musculoskeletal Tissue EngineeringAbstract

2019 — Hoda Mehrpouyan (Computer Science). Formal Tools for Safety and Security of Industrial Control Systems (FORENSICS). Abstract

2018 — Kurtis Cantley (Electrical and Computer Engineering). Spiking Neural Circuits and Networks with Temporally Dynamic Learning. Abstract

2018 — Michael Ekstrand (Computer Science). User-Based Simulation Methods for Quantifying Sources of Error and Bias in Recommender Systems. Abstract

2018 — Elton Graugnard (Materials Science and Engineering). Scalable Manufacturing of Two-dimensional Atomic Layer Materials for Energy-efficient Electronic Devices via Selective-area Atomic Layer Deposition. Abstract

2017 — Eric Jankowski (Materials Science and Engineering). Computational transformation of organic electronics manufacturing. Abstract

2017 — Yanliang Zhang (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering; now at the University of Notre Dame). Printing and Interface Engineering of Colloidal Nanocrystals for Flexible Thermoelectrics and Electronics. Abstract

2016 — Trevor Lujan (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering). Characterization and Simulation of Failure Mechanisms in Soft Fibrous Tissue. Abstract

2016 — Paul Simmonds (Physics / Materials Science and Engineering). Novel Nanomaterials for Scalable Entangled Photon Emitters. Abstract

2015 — Claire (Hui) Xiong (Materials Science and Engineering). Defect-driven Metal Oxides for Enhanced Energy Storage Systems. Abstract

2014 — Vishal Saxena (Electrical and Computer Engineering; now at the University of Idaho)
Mixed-Signal Photonic Integrated Circuits for Energy-Efficient High-Speed Data Interfaces. Abstract

2011 — Inanc Senocak (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering; now at the University of Pittsburgh). Multi-scale modeling of short-term forecasting and grid integration of wind energy over complex terrain. Abstract


2009 — Wan Kuang (Electrical and Computer Engineering; no longer with Boise State University). Numerical and Experimental Study of Photon-Electron Interaction in Surface Plasmon-Polariton Nanophotonic Devices. Abstract

2007 — Megan Frary (Materials Science and Engineering; now with the Boise State Center for Teaching and Learning). Role of Grain Boundary Character on Dynamic Recrystallization. Abstract

2003 — Elisa Barney Smith (Electrical and Computer Engineering; now at the Luleå Technical University in Sweden). Document Image Degradation Analysis. Abstract

2001 — John Lusth (Computer Science; now at the University of Arkansas). Improving the Performance of Quantum-dot Cellular Automata. Abstract

1997 — Susan Burkett (Electrical and Computer Engineering; now at the University of Alabama). Fundamental Electrical and Thermal Limitations of Patterned Thin Film Multilayer Magnetic Field Sensors. Abstract


Faculty member Scott Phillips (Materials Science and Engineering) earned the award in 2012 before joining the college, when at Pennsylvania State University. His study addressed the synthesis of novel classes of depolymerizable polymers with well-defined response properties. Abstract