July 23, 2012

NASA scientists, engineers receive presidential early career awards

President Obama has named six NASA individuals as recipients of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

The NASA recipients and 90 other federal researchers will receive their awards in a ceremony later this month in Washington.

The PECASE awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. They recognize recipients’ exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge, and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through professional leadership, education or community outreach.

“These talented individuals have already made significant contributions to the agency’s mission at this early stage in their careers,” said NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati. “We look forward to celebrating their continued success for many years to come.”

The 2011 NASA recipients were nominated by the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, Office of the Chief Engineer, and Office of the Chief Technologist:


  • Morgan B. Abney, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., recognized for innovative technical leadership in advancing technologies for recovering oxygen from carbon dioxide for self-sustaining human space exploration.
  • Ian Gauld Clark, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., recognized for exceptional leadership and achievement in the pursuit of advanced entry, descent and landing technologies and techniques for space exploration missions.
  • Temilola Fatoyinbo-Agueh, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., recognized for exceptional achievement in merging scientific priorities with advanced technology to develop innovative remote-sensing instrumentation for carbon-cycle and ecosystems science.
  • Jessica E. Koehne, NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., recognized for exceptional dedication to the development of nano-bio sensing systems for NASA mission needs.
  • Francis M. McCubbin, Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., recognized for studies of the geochemical role of water and other volatiles in extraterrestrial materials from the inner solar system.
  • Yuri Y. Shprits, University of California, Los Angeles, recognized for early-career leadership and innovative research and modeling in the realm of the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts.


The PECASE awards were created to foster innovative developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and many of the grand challenges facing the nation, and highlight the importance of science and technology for America’s future. Eleven federal departments and agencies nominated scientists and engineers for the 2011 PECASE awards.

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