National Nuclear Security Administration

11 NNSA employees receive highest honor for early career scientists and engineers

July 24, 2019

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The missions of NNSA demand a highly technical and dedicated workforce, prepared to serve our Nation at the leading edge of science and technology for decades to come. Eleven such rising stars of nuclear security have been singled out for their excellence and named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Felicia Albert - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Albert serves as a staff scientist, conducting experiments using high-intensity lasers at the National Ignition Facility as part of the Photon Science directorate and Joint High Energy Density Sciences organization. She also is the deputy director for LLNL’s Center for High Energy Density Science. She earned a doctorate in physics from the Ecole Polytechnique in France, a master's degree in optics from the University of Central Florida, and a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique de Marseille, France.

Daniel Casey - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Casey is a physicist studying the properties and performance of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions at the National Ignition Facility. He is currently co-leading a “principle degradations” effort to understand factors that could impact the quality of these implosions. He earned a doctorate in plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Richard Kraus - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Kraus is a research scientist in the Physics Division in LLNL’s Physics and Life Sciences directorate. He serves as a project lead in the Enhanced Capabilities for Subcritical Experiments portfolio, a designer and experimentalist in the Materials Diffraction campaign at the National Ignition Facility, and the project lead for a materials portfolio within the Global Security directorate. He earned a doctorate in earth and planetary sciences and a master’s degree in applied physics from Harvard University, and both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physics from the University of Cambridge and the University of Nevada, Reno, respectively.

Arthur Pak - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Pak is a staff scientist in the National Ignition Facility and Photon Science directorate, where his research is focused on understanding how to optimize the performance of inertial confinement fusion experiments. He earned a doctorate in plasma physics from the University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree in optical science engineering from the University of California, Davis.


Abigail Hunter - Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

Hunter’s research focuses on understanding and modeling nanoscale deformation mechanisms in metals. She is a leading expert in phase field modeling of dislocation-based deformation behaviors. A primary goal of her work is to better understand defect physics at the mesoscale and use this information to develop better models used for predictive science at Los Alamos. Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and doctorate from Purdue University, both in mechanical engineering.

Shea Mosby - Los Alamos National Laboratory

Mosby’s research at LANL has focused on nuclear reactions relevant for applications using a variety of detector systems at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center. He started at LANL studying neutron capture using the Detector for Advanced Neutron Capture Experiments. Mosby recently began investigating novel approaches to measuring neutron-induced reactions for radioactive isotopes, which preclude traditional measurement techniques. He earned a doctorate in experimental nuclear physics from Michigan State University.


Marylesa Howard - Nevada National Security Site

Howard has leveraged satellite imaging to determine how ecologies evolve over time and potentially helping to preserve marshlands and other disappearing landscapes. Her novel methods have found application in X-ray imaging, where she developed a new technique for computing the density of materials. She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in chemistry from George Fox University and a master’s degree and doctorate in mathematics from the University of Montana.


Salvatore Campione - Sandia National Laboratories

Campione is an electromagnetics analyst currently leading a group implementing a next-generation computational electromagnetic simulation code. He was recognized for pioneering work in metamaterial and nanophotonic design, capability development in accurately predicting electromagnetic-pulse consequences on the U.S. power grid, and for excellence in engaging with the external scientific community and mentoring junior staff. Campione earned a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

Matthew Gomez - Sandia National Laboratories

Gomez is an experimental high-energy density physicist with expertise in magnetic direct drive fusion experiments. He has led experiments in several areas of high energy density physics (HEDP) at Sandia’s Z machine. He has distinguished himself through exceptional leadership and contributions in HEDP and magneto-inertial fusion and for his service as a role model to develop a community of scientists and engineers. Gomez holds a doctorate in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences from the University of Michigan.

Paul Schmit - Sandia National Laboratories

Schmit is a physicist advancing inertial confinement fusion techniques using pulsed power through theory, simulation and design/analysis of experiments using  Sandia’s Z machine. He has been singled out for exceptional technical contributions to the field of inertial confinement fusion, magnetized plasmas, and related science applications in support of the country’s nuclear security mission, and for outstanding leadership and excellence in community outreach and mentoring of graduate students. Schmit earned a doctorate in plasma physics from Princeton University.

Irina Tezaur - Sandia National Laboratories

Tezaur is a computational scientist working in modeling and simulation of complex multi-scale and multi-physics problems arising in Sandia’s missions, high performance computing, scientific computing and model reduction. She has been singled out for developing new, impactful mathematical methods and computer algorithms to enable real-time analysis, control and decision-making on difficult problems relevant to nuclear security mission and climate modeling. Tezaur holds a doctorate degree in computational and mathematical engineering from Stanford University.

PECASE embodies the high priority placed by NNSA and the entire U.S. government on maintaining the leadership position of the United States in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development.

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