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

Washington, DC, June 17, 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 Medtronic
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 Intel
Jason Crater Genomatica, Inc.
Rachel Cummings Georgia Institute of Technology
Brian Cummins Abbott
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 General Electric
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 Boeing
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 Facebook
Meha Rungta ExxonMobil Chemical Technology
Chelsea Sabo Lockheed Martin
Bodhisatwa Sadhu IBM
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 Boeing
Alexander Wiltschko Google
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 Syngenta
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 rePurpose
Jeremy Conkle Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
Patrick Cournoyer US FDA
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.