Press Release

White House presents three UC Berkeley faculty with prestigious early career awards

| 19 December 2008

The White House has honored three University of California, Berkeley, researchers with the nation's highest award for scientists at the early stages of their careers.

John H. Marburger III, science advisor to the U.S. president and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, presented the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at a White House ceremony today (Friday, Dec. 19).

UC Berkeley's Rachel Segalman, assistant professor of chemical engineering; Sanjit Seshia, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences; and Joan Walker, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering with a joint appointment at the campus's Global Metropolitan Studies Program, are among 67 honorees around the country to receive the prestigious award, established in 1996 to recognize early career scientists and engineers who show outstanding promise and leadership in their fields.

  • Rachel Segalman is being honored for important developments of techniques to control nanoscale polymer features that have proven to be essential for a wide range of applications, as well as for her role in mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in that field of study.

    Much of her work, which focuses on understanding and controlling polymer nanostructure and properties, is critical to the success of functional polymers in applications ranging from energy and plastic electronics to biomaterials.

  • Sanjit Seshia is being recognized for his ground-breaking research in the fields of verification, learning and control for a new generation of survivable embedded systems. Also noted was his educational innovation in verification and in creating an undergraduate course on embedded systems.

    Seshia's research interests are in dependable computing and computational logic, with a current focus on applying automated formal methods to problems in computer security, electronic design automation and program analysis.

  • Joan Walker is being honored for her research and educational activities that contribute to understanding the multi-contextual approach to behavioral modeling for improved transportation planning; and for developing educational modules for graduate, undergraduate and secondary school classes.

    Walker focuses her research on behavioral travel demand modeling, emphasizing methods and their application to urban issues including health, congestion, air quality, equity and quality of life. Her work on behavioral models of transport and land use could help inform planning and policymaking, and forecast future transportation scenarios.

In addition to the three PECASE awardees mentioned above, Ravi Ramamoorthi from Columbia University will be joining the UC Berkeley faculty as an acting associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences on Jan. 1, 2009.

Segalman was nominated by the U.S. Department of Defense. Seshia and Walker are part of the Faculty Early Career Development Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is through this program that the NSF nominated Seshia and Walker for the PECASE award.