My recent visit to Washington, D.C. to receive the PECASE award was amazing, overwhelming, unbelievable, such an honor…
My visit to Washington, D.C. started on Wednesday, May 4th with a ceremony at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Twenty-one of the 105 awardees who were in DC to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) were affiliated with NSF, with two of us being chemists. (The other ~80 awardees were associated with other national science institutes such as the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education, Department of Energy, etc.) We each gave a ~1 minute talk about our work and service.
Wednesday afternoon there was a ceremony for all PECASE recipients at the USDA. Awards were given by Jo Handlesman, Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is well known for her work in bacterial communication, which is also one of my research areas.
Thursday morning we went to the White House. They checked our IDs multiple times, sent us past a K-9 unit and then we got to explore the White House library, red room, blue room, green room…
When President Obama came and spoke with us, his first comment was, “Scientists and Engineers Rock!” We took a big group photo with the President standing in the middle of all the PECASE winners.
After the photo, he shook every person’s hand – I wish that I can say that I said something cool to him – instead I was worried about forgetting my own name when I introduced myself!
Here is the White House blog post from that day – I was honored with a specific mention!
Thursday afternoon, I was interviewed along with 10 other scientists by The Science Coalition – the topic was largely about the importance of federal funding of science. Some of this footage might end up in the press… we shall see! You can watch the entire hour-long session here.
I’m so grateful to my family, friends, and colleagues for their support, friendship and belief over the years. Everyone in my life helped to get me here.