Physics Professor Wins NSF CAREER Grant

By: Zenaida Kotala on

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Chini, Ph.D., a UCF physics assistant professor, recently was awarded a $760,000 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, one of the most prestigious in the nation.

The grant is part of the NSF’s Early Career Development Program and is given to recipients who have the potential to serve as academic role models and lead advances in their field. She was one of about 300 to receive the grant for 2018.

“The NSF CAREER award is the most prestigious award given by NSF to early career faculty,” said Debra Reinhart, Ph.D., assistant vice president for the UCF Office of Research. “It is highly competitive and goes to the best and the brightest. It represents an important investment in Dr. Chini’s academic career and we are incredibly proud of her.”

Dr. Chini, who has been at UCF since 2011, will use her grant to conduct research about the physics profession and how accessible it is to people with disabilities. Chini began her academic career intent on becoming a pediatrician, but she said that after taking a few physics classes she was hooked.

Competition for the NSF CAREER award is stiff. The number of applicants can run from a couple of hundred to more than 1,000 depending on the discipline. The award is presented to researchers at universities, nonprofit research groups, and government agencies.

UCF faculty have earned 14 such awards since 2010.

Other UCF NSF CAREER recipients have investigated a variety of topics from how to create simple and sensitive disease-biomarker detection technology, to networking systems that coordinate all sorts of automated systems from cars to street lights to toll lanes.

UCF’s past winners are:

  • 2010 Masahiro Ishigami
  • 2012 Haiyan Hu and Sasan Fathpour
  • 2013 Azadeh Vosoughi
  • 2014 Jayan Thomas
  • 2015 Basak Gurel and Mercedeh Khajavikhan
  • 2016 James Harper, George Atia, Mingjie Lin and Yaser Fallah
  • 2017 Shawn Putnam and Xiaohu Xia
  • 2018 Jacquelyn Chini

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