Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cerato to receive Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Jana Smith, Director of Strategic Communications for R&D
July 9, 2009

Norman, Okla.--Amy Cerato, assistant professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science within the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, is among 100 beginning researchers nationwide named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers starting their independent careers.

“These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country,” President Obama said. “With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world.”

Cerato is studying how to design and build robust foundations for critical infrastructures, particularly in marginal soils. She says the U.S. spends $15 billion a year repairing infrastructure built on expansive soil, which exceeds what is spent annually on damage caused by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados combined. Expansive soils are frequently overlooked as a major problem because they often take years to cause extensive damage.

“Receiving the PECASE Award is the highlight of my career,” said Cerato. “I am ecstatic.”

John P. Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and assistant to the President for Science and Technology says, “Cerato’s accomplishments early in her career highlight her extraordinary potential to catalyze the kinds of scientific and technological advances that have long been at the core of this nation’s strength. Her promise as a leader stands out among her peers and places her in a position of great opportunity and responsibility—a position I am confident she will fully embrace.”

Holdren said in his letter of notification to Cerato, “America is counting on you to elevate its place in the world, both directly through your accomplishments and by inspiring others. I applaud your energy and ambition and look forward to your achieving even greater goals in the years to come.”

According to Thomas L. Landers, dean, OU College of Engineering, “Amy Cerato is highly regarded by her students and faculty peers. National recognition was sure to follow suit. We are very proud of her accomplishments and grateful for the recognition she brings to our engineering college.”

Robert Knox, director, OU School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, acknowledged Cerato for her early career accomplishments and as the recipient of the prestigious PECASE Award. “I knew when we were recruiting her that we had someone special. She has worked very hard over the past four years and is most deserving of this recognition.”

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