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2017 Recipients

Congratulations to the 2017 Award Recipients

Pictured left to right: Adam Watkins, Phillip Graff, Lee Blaney, Kimberly Stroka

2017 Outstanding Young Scientists

Kimberly Stroka, Ph.D.
Fischell Department of Bioengineering at University of Maryland, College Park

By combining experimental techniques and theoretical modeling, Dr. Stroka discovered a new fundamental mechanism for tumor cell migration. Through her work, aquaporins (water channels that allow water flux across the cell membrane) could be explored as possible druggable targets for tumor cell metastasis. Collectively, her work has led to publication of 21 peer-reviewed journal articles, 2 first-author book chapters, and 26 invited talks and seminars.

The Maryland Academy of Sciences at the Maryland Science Center is pleased to present Kimberly Stroka the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Award in the Academic sector.

Learn more about Kimberly Stroka’s work in this video.

Phillip Graff, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

At NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Graff was lead developer for a key algorithm for the Laser Interferometry Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). This directly contributed to the successful detection and characterization of black hole mergers, a landmark achievement in science that demonstrated gravitational waves as predicted by Einstein’s theory are real. Dr. Graff has also worked to protect America’s computer networks and armed forces, developing algorithms for the Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Protection System as well as U.S. Special Operations Command.

The Maryland Academy of Sciences at the Maryland Science Center is pleased to present Phillip Graff the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Award in the Non-academic sector.

Learn more about  Phillip Graff‘s work in this video.

2017 Outstanding Young Engineers

Lee Blaney, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Dr. Blaney is at the forefront of technology development for nutrient recovery from poultry operations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, demonstrating more than 90% phosphorus recovery efficiency in laboratory tests. He is currently setting up pilot systems to test these technologies on Maryland farms. This will not only advance science, but also sustain and improve environmental quality in Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Blaney has also been very active in the Engineers without Borders Program. In Kenya, he and his students developed a clean water supply for a 500-person village.

The Maryland Academy of Sciences at the Maryland Science Center is pleased to present Lee Blaney the 2017 Outstanding Young Engineer Award in the Academic sector.

Learn more about Lee Blaney’s work in this video.

Adam Watkins, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Dr. Watkins has devoted his professional career to developing unmanned and autonomous systems for the defense of our nation and the safety of our sailors and soldiers. Applying his abilities to countering weapons of mass destruction, Dr. Watkins developed a solution to rapidly generate maps of hidden locations where WMDs are stored, allowing teams to deploy directly to the suspected material and neutralize the hazard without lengthy exposure. He also led the development of a research effort to demonstrate the potential of autonomous unmanned surface vehicles to protect Navy ships.

The Maryland Academy of Sciences at the Maryland Science Center is pleased to present Adam Watkins the 2016 Outstanding Young Engineer Award in the Non-academic sector.
Learn more about Adam Watkins’ work in this video.