The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development program recently awarded six UCF faculty members CAREER grants.

The recipients represent some of the most promising early career scientists and engineers with high promise of leading major advances in their respective fields and who will serve as academic role models.

“This is an exceptional year for some of our junior scientists and the number of NSF CAREER awards reflect that.” – Debra Reinhart, associate vice president for the UCF Office of Research.

“This is an exceptional year for some of our junior scientists and the number of NSF CAREER awards reflect that,” says Debra Reinhart, associate vice president for the UCF Office of Research. “At UCF, we encourage early career faculty to join us, with the expectation that they will be doing the kind of innovative work that attracts this kind of recognition.”

This year’s recipients are conducting research in everything from quantum physics to using data to shape and enhance online education for a better student experience, especially among STEM disciplines.

Competition for CAREER awards is stiff. The number of applicants varies but can have up to a couple of hundred depending on the discipline. Researchers at universities, nonprofit research groups and government agencies are eligible, and winners receive a minimum of $500,000 for five years. UCF faculty have received 57 CAREER awards since 1999.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Zhongzhou Chen, College of Sciences
    Research area: Physics; building an online learning for mastery system that creates a student-centered STEM-learning environment
  • Madhab Neupane, College of Sciences
    Research area: Physics; the electronic and spin properties of new quantum materials
  • Tania Roy, College of Engineering and Computer Science, NanoScience Techology Center
    Research area: artificial neurons and synapses for accelerated machine learning
  • Laurene Tetard, College of Sciences, NanoScience Technology Center
    Research area: Physics; using polarized infrared light to enhance atomic force microscopy to study molecular structures of living systems at the nanoscale
  • Pamela Wisniewski, College of Engineering and Computer Science
    Research area: Computer Science; investigating the mechanisms by which a critical gap in adolescent online safety technologies can be closed by leveraging interaction design as a means to minimize online risks
  • Xiaoming Yu, College of Optics and Photonics, Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers
    Research area: ultrafast lasers for advanced manufacturing