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Three NETL Researchers to be Recognized with the Highest Honor the U.S. Government Can Bestow on Young Scientists

President Donald J. Trump has announced that three NETL researchers are on a list of distinguished individuals set to receive the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow to outstanding scientists in the early stages of their research careers.

NETL’s Doug Kauffman, Ph.D.; Shiwoo Lee, Ph.D.; and Jordan Musser, Ph.D., were selected to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and for outstanding community service as demonstrated by scientific leadership, public education and community outreach.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the PECASE with participating departments and agencies of the federal government. To be eligible for a PECASE Award, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident.

“The PECASE embodies the high priority placed by the government on maintaining a leadership position in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development,” NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., said. “The PECASE Awards recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership. We are very proud to have Doug, Shiwoo and Jordan as outstanding members of our NETL team and of the cutting-edge research they and their teams are doing that advances the NETL mission.”

Kauffman is a research scientist at NETL in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His research interests focus on the synthesis, characterization and evaluation of new nanocatalyst materials for clean energy applications. He is designing catalysts to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into usable fuels and/or valuable chemicals. He specializes in research in electrochemistry, catalysis, optical spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, materials characterization, physical chemistry, and analytical chemistry. He first came to NETL as a post-doctoral researcher in 2010. He earned a doctorate in chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

Lee is a materials scientist/engineer working for Leidos as a contractor at NETL in Morgantown, West Virginia, and serves as the lead researcher for process developments associated with electrochemical energy conversion systems. His work centers on materials electrochemistry, innovative manufacturing processes and advancements of the efficiency of fuel cells. He began working at NETL as a senior research fellow in 2010. Before coming to NETL, Lee was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, an adjunct professor at the University of Science and Technology of Korea, and a senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Energy Research. He earned doctorate and master’s degrees in, materials science and engineering from Korea Advanced institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He received a bachelor’s degree in ceramic sciences and engineering from Korea’s Yonsei University.

Musser is a physical research scientist at NETL in Morgantown. He oversees in-house development of NETL’s Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges (MFIX) — a general-purpose computer code developed for describing the hydrodynamics, heat transfer and chemical reactions in fluid-solids systems — and has expertise in multiphase flow modeling, high performance computing, advanced mathematics, computer code development and project management. Musser began his work with NETL as an ORISE fellow in 2009. He earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in mathematics, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering, all from West Virginia University.

In 1996, the National Science Foundation’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) created PECASE to recognize and honor outstanding scientists and engineers at the outset of their independent research careers. According to NSTC, the awards “foster innovative and far-reaching 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 national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation's future.”

PECASE awards are conferred annually at the White House following recommendations from participating agencies. Each Presidential award winner receives a citation, a plaque and funding from their agency for up to five years to advance his or her research. Individuals can receive only one PECASE award in their careers.

Previous NETL-affiliated PECASE recipients include: John Kitchin, Ph.D., of Carnegie Mellon University who collaborated extensively with the Laboratory on carbon capture technology research; Anderson, who was a West Virginia University researcher in 2014 when he was recognized for working with NETL on gas hydrates and geothermal energy systems; Paul Ohodnicki, Ph.D., an NETL researcher who won in 2016 for his work on innovative sensor technologies that enhance energy and electricity delivery systems; and Alexandra Hakala, Ph.D., an NETL researcher who was recognized in 2017 for her work analyzing geochemical signals and the effects of CO2 injection.