Two scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are among six NASA recipients of a new presidential award that recognizes outstanding young scientists who are beginning their independent research careers.
Dr. Andrea Donnellan and Dr. Ellen Stofan received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at a ceremony yesterday in Washington, D.C. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young professionals whose talents and potential are so great that they are expected to be leaders in the frontiers of science and engineering in the 21st century.
The recipients received funding to support their research over the next five years. They will also serve as advisors to the president on emerging and developing trends and discoveries in their fields.
Donnellan was recognized for her work using the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology to study earthquakes and the corresponding movements of the Earth's crust. She is currently a team member on the Southern California Integrated GPS Network (SCIGN), an array of 250 GPS receivers that will continuously measure the constant, but nearly physically imperceptible movements of earthquake faults throughout Southern California. The network will help scientists forecast future earthquake hazards in the greater Los Angeles area.
Donnellan is also a visiting associate at the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech. She has conducted field studies in California in the region of the Northridge earthquake, the Ventura basin and on the San Andreas fault. She has also carried out field work in Antarctica on the West Antarctic Ice Streams, on the Altiplano of Bolivia and on Variegated Glacier in Alaska.
A resident of Altadena, Calif., Donnellan was born in 1964 and raised in Arlington Heights, Ill. She received her doctorate in geophysics in 1991 and her master's degree in 1988 from the California Institute of Technology. She graduated from Ohio State University in 1986 with a bachelor of science degree in geology and mathematics.
Stofan is a planetary geologist who received the award for her geologic mapping studies of Venus using data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft. Stofan was the deputy project scientist for the Magellan mission. She assisted in the interpretation of Magellan radar data, helped to plan the science analysis and provided science input to the Magellan mission operations teams.
Stofan has been on sabbatical in London for the past 15 months. She will return to JPL after the first of the year to continue her work as program scientist of NASA's New Millennium program, designed to develop and demonstrate revolutionary technologies needed for low-cost space science missions of the 21st century. Prior to that position, Stofan was the experiment scientist for the Spaceborne Imaging Radar C/X-band Imaging Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) project.
Born Feb. 24, 1961 in Oberlin, Ohio, Stofan received her master of science and doctorate degrees from Brown University, Providence, R.I. She graduated from William & Mary College, Williamsburg, VA in 1983 with a degree in geology and art history.
Stofan and her husband Tim Dunn, and their children, Ryan, Emily and Sarah, live in Pasadena, Calif.
In addition to the NASA recipients, other awardees are from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services and Veteran Affairs, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.
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