Bestowed by President George W. Bush, the award is the highest national honor for investigators in the early stages of promising scientific careers. Recipients are chosen based on research accomplishments and the integration of that research with significant educational contributions.
"I'm delighted and honored to have been chosen for this award," Jay said. "I am very passionate about the research projects we are undertaking because they are helping to solve important environmental problems. And I feel so fortunate to be able to contribute in some small way to addressing the inequities that exist in K-12 education."
School of Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir added, "Jennifer Jay's Presidential Early Career Award is another example of the high quality of our School's faculty and their dedication to forward thinking research and education. We are delighted that Jennifer has been recognized for her many accomplishments and the important contributions she has yet to make."
Jay, a civil and environmental engineering professor, along with her research group, is researching the environmental factors contributing to mercury contamination of food chains, a worldwide problem. The team is studying topics including the microbial transformation of mercury in wetlands, and the accumulation of mercury in endangered sea turtles. Jay also collaborates with local nonprofit groups to answer research questions concerning the microbial water quality at local California beaches.
In addition to her research efforts, Jay also has developed an innovative service-learning course in which UCLA student learn and then teach environmental engineering concepts to sixth grade classrooms of
Contact: Melissa Abraham
University of California - Los Angeles