Each year as many as 1,800 applicants vie for approximately 350 of the coveted awards. The purpose of the program is to provide stable support at a sufficient level and duration to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars, says the NSF. Funds ranging up to $500,000 over four or five years are awarded on the basis of creative career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education.
At least one Rensselaer faculty member has been a winner each year since 1995, when the CAREER Award program was launched. Recently the numbers have been truly remarkable. In 2000, Rensselaer and Cornell University tied for the most award winners in New York statewith eight each. Those awards helped New York jump from fifth in the nation in 1999 to second place. New Yorks total (40) was second only to Californias.
Twenty-five members of Rensselaers current faculty have been named winners. And, since awards are announced throughout the year, more may join their ranks before the NSF fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
Hailing from China, Venezuela, India, Canada, Russia, Haiti, Poland, Finland, and, of course, the United States, these men and women bring a rich diversity of experience to Rensselaers laboratories and classrooms as well as professional contacts stretching around the globe.
The award winners possess outstanding academic credentials, with doctorates from many of the worlds most highly regarded institutions. They have won honors like the Fulbright and Alexander von Humboldt Fellowships. They have worked in world-renowned research facilities such as the Max Planck Institute in Germany, the Argonne National Laboratory, and Los Alamos.
And they are young. One winner had no trouble convincing the photographer that he was just a grad student, until someone set the record straight. Most were in their early to mid-30s when they won the award, but at least two were still in their 20s. Shekhar Garde received official news of his 2001 award on his 30th birthday. Spirited and passionate about their work, they are already making significant contributions to Rensselaers bid for world-class ranking.
|Rensselaer Magazine: March 2002|
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