LANL’s David Mascareñas Receives Presidential Early Career Award

LANL’s David Mascareñas was named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award by President Obama last week. Courtesy/LANL

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  • Top award honors leading early-career science and engineering professionals

David Mascareñas, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Engineering Institute in the National Security Education Center (NSEC), was named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award by President Obama last week and will be honored at an award ceremony this spring in Washington, D.C.

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” President Obama said. “We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.”

The Presidential Early Career Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are in the early stages of their independent research careers.

“David is an innovative engineer whose creative thinking is essential to the continuing success of Los Alamos’ national-security science missions,” Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said. “I appreciate David’s contributions in mentoring and collaborating with other early-career scientists who represent the future of this Laboratory.”

Mascareñas is among the 105 scientists and engineers from 12 government agencies who received this year’s awards.

“David’s outstanding multidisciplinary engineering research focuses on the development of cyber-physical systems that will improve the safety and reliability of civilian and defense infrastructure, innovative approaches for human-computer interfacing, advancing the capabilities of ground and aerial robotic sensing systems, and helping to detect nuclear materials,” said Alan Bishop, the Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology and Engineering. “He exemplifies the next generation of researchers who will continue the great history of mission and scientific excellence at our Laboratory.”

About Mascareñas

Mascareñas earned his doctorate in structural engineering from the University of California-San Diego, where he had a NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellowship and a National GEM Consortium Fellowship; he was also supported by Los Alamos. He worked as a laboratory manager at Science Applications International Corporation/Sullivan International to develop systems-health monitoring software for ground-based robots, and then he joined the Laboratory as a Director’s funded postdoctoral researcher in 2010. He became a technical staff member in the NSEC’s Engineering Institute in 2012.

He investigates the application of compressive sensing techniques to structural health monitoring, the deployment of wireless sensor networks from aerial robots, standoff experimental mechanics and the development of techniques to interface humans to data using vibro-tactile interfaces. He received a 2014 Laboratory Directed Research and Development Early Career Researcher Award for his work on techniques for remotely deploying sensor nodes. Mascareñas co-directs the Los Alamos National Laboratory Dynamic Summer School, and he organized the Engineering Institute’s new educational Advanced Studies Institute, a novel educational program that features a professional development lecture series.

About the award

This year’s recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards are employed or funded by the following departments and agencies: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, National Science Foundation, and the Intelligence Community. These departments and agencies join together annually to nominate scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions.

The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

White House press release link:

About Los Alamos National Laboratory (

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWX Technologies, Inc. and URS for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.