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NSF CAREER Awards

The National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award is a prestigious early career opportunity for promising researchers across the country. It provides stable funding of approximately $500,000 over 5 years and an early career boost to support specific research and educational outreach projects.  The College of Engineering is proud to highlight our many winners.

The NSF is a federal agency that chooses approximately 450 winners each year by proposal to recognize and support junior faculty who demonstrate excellence in research, teaching, and their integration. CAREER projects also offer exciting opportunities for undergraduate and graduate researchers to engage in cutting-edge research at Boise State, often with national and international research collaborators.

Award Recipients

Since the college’s inception in 1997, our faculty have earned a commanding 22 NSF CAREER awards, listed below. Another earned the award before joining the college. Funding comes from specific discipline units consistent with faculty research interests, and sometimes from the broader Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Abstract links below provide more details at the NSF website.

2020 — Clare Fitzpatrick (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering)
Computational Modeling to Predict Subject-Specific Osteoarthritis Risk and Facilitate Treatment. Abstract – Clare Fitzpatrick. Funding: ENG/CBET/ Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering (DARE), and EPSCoR. Award: $563,139

2020 — Mike Hurley (Materials Science and Engineering)
Resolving the Origins of Microgalvanic Corrosion on Metal Surfaces. Abstract – Mike Hurley. Funding: MPS/DMR/Metals and Metallic Nanostructures. Award: $500K

2020 — Catherine Olschanowsky (Computer Science)
Compilation Processes to Enhance Dataflow Optimizations. Abstract – Catherine Olschanowsky. Funding: CISE/Computing and Communication Foundations/Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF): Core Programs, and EPSCoR. Award: $544,246

2020 — Elena Sherman (Computer Science)
Computing Program Invariants using Abstract Domains Search. Abstract – Elena Sherman. Funding: CISE/Computing & Communication Foundations/Software and Hardware Foundations (SHF). Award: $473,549

2020 — Francesca Spezzano (Computer Science)
Enhanced Analysis & Algorithms to Minimize the Spread of Misinformation in Social Networks. Abstract – Francesca Spezzano. Funding: CISE/CCF/Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace, and EPSCoR. Award: $487,469

2019 — Dave Estrada (Materials Science and Engineering)
Graphene as a Bioscaffold for Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering. Abstract – Dave Estrada. Funding: MPS/DMR/Biomaterials. Award: $550,752

2019 — Hoda Mehrpouyan (Computer Science)
Formal Tools for Safety and Security of Industrial Control Systems (FORENSICS). Abstract – Hoda Mehrpouyan. Funding: CISE/CCF/Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace. Award: $450,000

2018 — Kurtis Cantley (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Spiking Neural Circuits and Networks with Temporally Dynamic Learning. Abstract – Kurtis Cantley. Funding: CISE/Computing and Communication Foundations: Core Programs, and EPSCoR. Award: $548,882

2018 — Michael Ekstrand (Computer Science)
User-Based Simulation Methods for Quantifying Sources of Error and Bias in Recommender Systems. Abstract – Michael Ekstrand. Funding: CISE/Information and Intelligent systems: Core Programs: Cyber-Human Systems. Award: $482,000

2018 — Elton Graugnard (Materials Science and Engineering)
Atomic Layer Deposition for Scalable Manufacturing of Atomic-Layered Transition Metal Dichalcogenides. Abstract – Elton Graugnard. Funding: ENG/CMMI/Nanomanufacturing. Award: $500,000

2017 — Eric Jankowski (Materials Science and Engineering)
Computational transformation of organic electronics manufacturing. Abstract – Eric Jankowski. Funding: ENG/CBET/Energy for Sustainability, and EPSCoR. Award: $502,523

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 – Yanliang Zhang. Funding: ENG/CMMI/MEP. Award: $500,000

2016 — Trevor Lujan (Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering)
Characterization and Simulation of Failure Mechanisms in Soft Fibrous Tissue. Abstract – Trevor Lujan. Funding: ENG/CMMI: Biomechanics & Mechanobiology, and EPSCoR. Award: $510,000

2016 — Paul Simmonds (Physics/Materials Science and Engineering)
Novel Nanomaterials for Scalable Entangled Photon Emitters. Abstract – Paul Simmonds. Funding: (1) MPS/Division of Materials Research/Electronic and Photonic Materials (EPM), and (2) ENG/Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)/Electronics, Photonics and Magnetic Devices. Award: $505,798

2015 — Claire Xiong (Materials Science and Engineering)
Defect-driven Metal Oxides for Enhanced Energy Storage Systems. Abstract – Claire Xiong. Funding: MPS/DMR/Ceramics, and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activity.  Award: $528,027

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 – Vishal Saxena. Funding: ENG/ECCS/Communications, Circuits and Sensing-Systems (CCSS). Award: $500,000

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 – Inanc Senocak. Funding: ENG/CBET/Energy for Sustainability.  Award: $400,011

2009 — Wan Kuang (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Numerical and Experimental Study of Photon-Electron Interaction in Surface Plasmon-Polariton Nanophotonic Devices. Abstract – Wan Kuang. Funding: ENG/ECCS/Energy, Power, and Adaptive Systems, and EPSCoR. Award: $400,000

2007 — Megan Frary (Materials Science and Engineering)
Role of Grain Boundary Character on Dynamic Recrystallization. Abstract – Megan Frary. Funding: MPS/DMR/Metal & Metallic Nanostructure. Award: $500,957

2003 — Elisa Barney Smith (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Document Image Degradation Analysis. Abstract – Elisa Barney Smith. Funding: Signal Processing Systems, and EPSCoR. Award: $429,920

2001 — John Lusth (Computer Science; now at the University of Arkansas)
Improving the Performance of Quantum-dot Cellular Automata. Abstract – John Lusth. Funding: Electronics, Photonics, and Mag Devices, and EPSCoR. Award: $375,000

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 – Susan Burkett. Funding: Electronics, Photonics, and Magnetic Devices, and EPSCoR. Award: $206,000

Faculty member Scott Phillips (Materials Science and Engineering) earned the award 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 – Scott Phillips.

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