Three Boulder scientists have been named by President Donald Trump as recipients of a highly prestigious award conveyed to those showing exceptional promise early in their research careers.
Andrew Hoell, Brian McDonald and Andrew Rollins, who all work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, have been honored by the White House as recipients of what is known as the Presidential Early Career Award to Sciences and Engineers.
Hoell and Rollins are federal scientists, though Rollins was nominated for the award while he was an employee of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a NOAA cooperative research institute hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder. McDonald is a CIRES scientist.
Established in 1996, the presidential award acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and to community service as demonstrated by scientific leadership, public education and community outreach, according to a White House news release.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Coordinates the award with participating departments and agencies.
Altogether, five scientists in NOAA’s office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research were honored, along with three scientists with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
Statewide, Colorado boasted nine winners of the award. That’s better than, for example Kansas, Nevada and North Dakota (one each), but dwarfed by California (49).
Hoell is described by NOAA as an emerging leading international researcher exploring the physical processes in the climate system leading to the onset, persistence and ending of regional drought, and the need to better represent these processes in forecast systems to improve regional predictions of drought.
He has applied his research to support the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a project of the U.S. Agency for International Development initiative that works with government agencies, national government ministries and international partners to collect data and produce objective, forward-looking analysis on the world’s most food-insecure countries.
The nominating letter for Hoell authored by Earth System Research Laboratory Director Robert Webb mentions that his three papers in which he’s listed as top author have been cited 78 times in peer-reviewed literature, and that his total number of 32 publications have been cited more than 500 times.
“His impressive scientific achievements and strong desire to effectively communicate his research on drought to provide actionable early warning information during this early part of his career are well beyond what is expected of most scientists in comparable stages of their careers,” Webb wrote.
McDonald is a CIRES scientist who has been working in Earth System Research Laboratory’s Chemical Sciences Division since 2014. According to NOAA, he has developed “innovative, elegant approaches to account for emissions of atmospheric pollutants that improve the scientific understanding of the sources of atmospheric constituents and link human activity to environmental change.”
McDonald was lead author on a 2017 paper establishing that as emissions from the transportation sector have declined, emissions from a broad class of consumer products are now a significant source of ozone and particulate pollution.
Rollins is a NOAA scientist also in Earth System Research Laboratory’s Chemical Science Division who studies the role of water vapor in the lower stratosphere, where it has a disproportionately large role as a greenhouse gas. And he has expanded his research to demonstrating a new class of instrument for the detection of low values of sulfur in the lower stratosphere.
In a letter supporting Rollins’ nomination Craig McLean, assistant administrator for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, wrote that Rollins’ work “served to resolve decades-long discrepancies in measurements and what seemed to be an intractable problem in the the atmospheric sciences community.”
Honoring Rollins will acknowledge not only his existing accomplishments but also his “great potential for new technical and scientific advancements that contribute to NOAA’s mission as steward of the atmospheres and oceans,” McLean wrote.