Neilson receives NSF Career Award

Posted: February 7th, 2017

Assistant Professor Jamie Neilson has been recognized with a $520,000 Career Award from the National Science Foundation. The NSF Career Award is a prestigious 5-year award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. The research goal of Dr. Neilson’s Career project is to pursue innovative approaches to design and synthesize new materials and discover inorganic solids with novel properties that can bring solutions to various societal challenges. A paradigm of materials design would serve to transform the way in which we create and use novel materials. One could predict, and then create, an atomistic structure that gives rise to the desired properties. However, this targeted design of functional materials remains to be a difficult task. This project will study the science of synthesis by understanding and modifying the pathways through which materials are formed chemically. This fundamental research has the additional potential to discover new chemical transformations that can be exploited for efficient energy conversion and storage. Materials chemistry education is an important ingredient for a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skilled workforce. However, general chemical education often centers on molecular structures. This project will create STEM education kits that engage K-12 students with materials chemistry while aligning with K-12 State Science Standards. The outreach activities will be partnered with a Research Experience for Preservice Teachers program to improve the kit implementation and to provide teachers with experience in scientific research.