Innovative Early-Career Engineers Selected to Participate in NAE's 2020 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium


Tue, June 23, 2020

Washington D.C., June 23, 2020 —

85 of the nation’s brightest early-career engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 26th annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium. Engineers who are performing exceptional research and technical work in a variety of disciplines will come together for the two-and-a-half day event. The participants -- from industry, academia, and government -- were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations.

The 2020 USFOE was originally scheduled to be hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado in September; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting has been rescheduled for February 25-27, 2021, and will be held at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California. The symposium will cover cutting-edge developments in four areas: Food for Thought: The AgRevolution Shaping What We (Will) Eat; Next-generation Energy Systems Integration; Engineering Innovation in Women’s Health; Plastics: Pollutions Challenges and Innovations.

“The Frontiers of Engineering program brings together a talented group of young engineers from different technical areas to spark innovation and facilitate long-term collaborations,” said NAE President John L. Anderson. “These relationships are critical in developing creative engineering solutions to the world’s problems.” 

The following engineers were selected as general participants:

Damena Agonafer

Washington University in St. Louis

Sarah Ahlberg


Mohamed Amer

Robust AI

Arezoo Ardekani

Purdue University

Rohini Bala Chandran

University of Michigan

Michelle Calabrese

University of Minnesota

Guadalupe Canahuate

University of Iowa

Jesse Chan

Rice University

Haoshuo Chen

Nokia Bell Labs

Elizabeth Connelly

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Cory Cornelius


Jason Crater

Genomatica, Inc.

Rachel Cummings

Georgia Institute of Technology

Brian Cummins


Sujit Datta

Princeton University

Timothy Davenport

United Technologies Research Center

Sean Donegan

Air Force Research Laboratory

Xinyu Du

General Motors

Jessilyn Dunn

Duke University

Sudipta Dutta

GE Gas Power

Eno Ebong

Northeastern University

Joseph Ensberg

Collins Aerospace

Pete Erslev

Ball Aerospace

N. Dianne Ezell

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Neta Ezer

Northrop Grumman Corporation

Zachlyn Farwig


Alexander Fiannaca

Microsoft Research

Greeshma Gadikota

Cornell University

Maria Gorlatova

Duke University

Reza Haghpanah

Dow Inc.

Kerry Hamilton

Arizona State University

Jennifer Hoffmann

WL Gore & Associates

Aruna Jammalamadaka

HRL Laboratories, LLC

Katherine Jungjohann

Sandia National Laboratories

Kakani Katija

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Mikhail Kats

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Suman Khatiwada

Syzygy Plasmonics, Inc.

Sarah Kim

Arkema Inc.

Alper Kiziltas

Ford Motor Company

Lyle Kocher

Cummins Inc.

Cortney Kreller

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Kelly Leung

Allergan, Inc.

Adrienne Little

Google [x]

Mitul Luhar

University of Southern California

Karthish Manthiram

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Christine McCool

3M Company

Matthew McDowell

Georgia Institute of Technology

Alejandra Menchaca

Thornton Tomasetti

Rebecca Mieloszyk

Microsoft Healthcare

Michael Millhaem

GE Aviation

Timothy Morse

Exponent, Inc.

Monica Moya

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Venkat Narayanaswamy

North Carolina State University

Destenie Nock

Carnegie Mellon University

Jeffrey Nye

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Ronke Olabisi

University of California, Irvine

Holly Oldroyd 

University of California, Davis

Emily Pentzer

Texas A&M University

Greg Rieker

University of Colorado Boulder

Simon Rogers

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Seth Rothschild

Dell Technologies

Liliana Ruiz Diaz


Meha Rungta

ExxonMobil Chemical Technology

Chelsea Sabo

Lockheed Martin

Bodhisatwa Sadhu


Samantha Santacruz

University of Texas at Austin

Soumalya Sarkar

Raytheon Technologies Research Center

Rebecca Schulman

Johns Hopkins University

Richa Sharma

Schlumberger-Doll Research

Anita Shukla

Brown University

Melissa Smith

MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Michael Thomas

Dominion Energy

Varun Varun

Itasca International Inc.

Vikrant Vaze

Dartmouth College

Ashok Veeraraghavan

Rice University

Archana Venkataraman

Johns Hopkins University

Peter Verderame

Air Products

Naveen Vetcha

ERC/Jacobs Space Exploration Group/NASA MSFC

Vidya Vidyapati

Procter & Gamble Company

Katherine Vozar

Ford Motor Company

Dana Weinstein

Purdue University

Benjamin Westin


Alexander Wiltschko


Hao Zhu

The University of Texas at Austin

Qi Zhu

Northwestern University

Organizing Committee:

Jennifer West (Chair)

Duke University

Lily Cheung

Georgia Institute of Technology

Anela Choy

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Andrew Coughlin


Jenna Jambeck

University of Georgia

Jennifer Kurtz

National Renewable Energy Lab

Javad Lavaei

University of California, Berkeley

Kristin Myers

Columbia University

Melissa Skala

Morgridge Institute for Research


Mercy Asiedu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Noel Bakhtian

Idaho National Laboratory

Svanika Balasubramian


Jeremy Conkle

Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

Patrick Cournoyer


Aaron Hummel

Pairwise Plants

Johanna Mathieu

University of Michigan

Kristin Miller

Tulane University

Desiree Plata

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kyle Schneider

Vestaron Corp.

Ariella Shikanov

University of Michigan

Suzanne Singer

Native Renewables

Ridhi Tariyal

NextGen Jane

Sierra Young

North Carolina State University

Sponsors for the 2020 US Frontiers of Engineering are The Grainger Foundation, National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Microsoft Research, and Cummins.

The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.

Brandon  Green
Contact Brandon Green
Communications/Media Specialist
National Academy of Engineering