President Obama has named Thomas F. Jaramillo, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the Stanford University School of Engineering, as one of 13 U.S. Department of Energy-funded researchers to receive the 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Jaramillo was nominated by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for his innovations in solar hydrogen production, including using quantum confinement in nanoparticles to enhance catalytic reactivity and incorporating these catalysts into high-surface-area scaffolds. The DOE also noted Jaramillo’s excellence in mentoring in its nomination.

PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are early in their independent research careers. In addition to a citation and a plaque, each PECASE winner receives DOE funding for up to five years. Jaramillo and the other winners will accept their awards at a White House ceremony.

“The PECASE Award is a tremendous honor,” said Jaramillo. “Recognition by The White House and by the U.S. DOE reinforces my commitment to researching and developing sustainable energy technologies.”

On a more personal note, Jaramillo added that winning a prestigious award “shows that if you set high goals for yourself, work hard, and do so with integrity, people will take notice and good things will happen.”

By Andrew Myers, Stanford School of Engineering