Kientz and Lee Win Prestigious NSF Career Awards

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kientz and LeeCongratulations to HCDE Assistant Professors Charlotte Lee and Julie Kientz, for each winning distinguished National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Awards! The four- to five-year grants provide funding to assist junior faculty members with their research activities.

“The NSF Career Award is a desirable prize for up and coming academics,” said Lee. “We’d like to think that our research speaks for itself, but sometimes it can speak a little more loudly if you have an award like this.”
With only three opportunities to apply, Lee and Kientz were delighted to learn that they received the award on their first attempt.

“I had been an assistant professor for only about seven months at that time,” said Lee. “So I thought it was a bit ambitious to apply for it so early in my career. But I got a lot of encouragement from colleagues and people in the department.”

Kientz agreed, “The College of Engineering was really great. They ran a workshop with past applications and winners…. They gave us a sample application of people who had won it in the past…. I read through at least 10 different successful proposals and got advice from at least four or five different people.”

Lee received the award for her work on cyber infrastructures as sociotechnical systems. She hopes to learn more about the circumstances that prompt organizations to adopt existing technology or build new ones.
Kientz received the award for several tools that she developed to help parents track the developmental progress of their children.

“[The tools] help detect autism, hearing impairments, and behavioral problems early,” said Kientz. “The idea is that if you detect these as early as possible, usually an intervention will be more effective than if they had been detected later on.”
For faculty members interested in applying for the award, Kientz had this bit of advice to offer, “Just apply…. It never hurts to apply for the first time. Get advice from lots of people and do it early enough so that you can get advice on your application.”

Lee agreed, “Just go for it! I think the most wonderful things that have happened to me, even this early in my career, have happened because I felt like I was reaching above where I should be or could be.”

By Amihan Beltejar, HCDE certificate student