USU Faculty member Idalis Villanueva will travel to Washington, D.C. next week to receive the highest honor awarded by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers.
She said the Presidential Early Career Award recognizes junior faculty who are leading innovative research:
“It recognizes the potential that my research may have, not just right now but years down the road. I am doing a blend of chemical engineering and engineering education.”
Dr. Villanueva, a native of Puerto Rico, said she was motivated by the support of a high school teacher who encouraged her to turn her interest in chemistry into a career in chemical engineering:
“I like the idea of also using chemistry to help people, especially when it comes to disease detection or creation of medicines. Stuff like that just attracted me.”
She said honor recipients will assemble in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. for the ceremony, Thursday, July 25.
She is the first USU faculty member to ever receive this honor, which was created in 1996. She is also the only 2019 recipient from Utah.