President Obama Honors Engineering and Natural Science Faculty Members with Early Career Awards

Aug. 1, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Two University of Texas at Austin faculty members were honored at the White House this week with the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Brady Cox from the Cockrell School of Engineering and Brent Waters from the College of Natural Sciences were honored by President Barack Obama at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., July 31.

They were among 96 researchers who received the award.

"Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people," Obama said. "The impressive accomplishments of the awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead."

Cox, 35, will join the Cockrell School faculty in August from the University of Arkansas, where he was an assistant professor in civil engineering. He specializes in geotechnical engineering issues related to earthquake loading, soil dynamics and nondestructive material characterization using stress waves. He has been a part of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance teams deployed immediately after recent major earthquakes including those in New Zealand and Haiti.

"It is truly a great honor to receive this presidential award and to be considered among such an elite group of early-career scientists and engineers," Cox said. "I am really excited to join the faculty of the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT. This new group of amazing collaborators and facilities will help me carry my research program to a level that would be unobtainable elsewhere."

Waters, 34, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science since 2008, focuses his research on computing security, finding new methods to secure stored data by encryption using an entirely different vision for encryption he calls Functional Encryption. Instead of encrypting to individual users, users can embed how they want to share data in the encryption process.

"I am very grateful to be given this award," Waters said. "Traveling to the White House was a unique and special experience."

The awards, established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

For more information, contact: Marjorie Smith, School of Law, 512 232 2442;  Lee Clippard, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, College of Natural Sciences, 512-232-0104.

6 Comments to "President Obama Honors Engineering and Natural Science Faculty Members with Early Career Awards"

1.  Angie Hodge said on Aug. 3, 2012

Congratulations to the honourees!

2.  Harold McFarlane said on Aug. 9, 2012

UT grad Derek Gaston of Idaho National Laboratory was also honored this year. Derek has an MS degree in Computational and Applied Math from UT.

3.  Paul Beaver said on Aug. 9, 2012

Obama will award anything to anybody as long as it means more votes for him.

4.  Anna L. said on Aug. 10, 2012

Congratulation to the professors and to the school! Keep up with the work! We need great faculty to inspire and build up the next generation!

5.  Khiem Dinh said on Aug. 10, 2012

Mr. Beaver, if you bothered to read the article, you’ll notice that President Clinton started the PECASE awards in 1996. If you would have take time to perform just a little research, you’d know the awards have been given every year since including during the Bush Administration. Therefore, President Bush also gave these awards.

6.  MIROSLAV SYNEK said on Aug. 13, 2012

"O.K."