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NMSU engineering alum honored by President Obama for early career accomplishments

New Mexico State University electrical engineering alumnus Stan Atcitty has been named by President Obama as one of 96 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are early in their independent research careers.

NMSU alum Stan Atcitty stands in front of an electrical power station. Atcitty will receive an Early Career Award from President Obama on July 31.
NMSU alum and Sandia researcher Stan Atcitty is one of 96 researchers named as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. (Photo by Sandia National Laboratories)

"This is the highlight of my career," Atcitty said. "I've worked with exceptional people and in world-class facilities at Sandia, had multiple publications published and have received other awards, including R&D100 awards, but this is definitely the highlight of my career."

Atcitty earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering at NMSU in 1993 and 1995, and received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2006. He is a principle member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in the Wind Energy Technologies department. His research interests include power conversion systems (rated from 1kW to 10s of MW) and electrochemical capacitors and their applications in electric power systems that are both off-grid and grid-tied. He currently works with the Department of Energy's Energy Storage Program at Sandia National Laboratories as a power electronics researcher and energy storage consultant.

"I am very proud of Stan - both because he received recognition he so richly deserves, but also because he has been a role model for our students in the power area," said Satish Ranade, head of the NMSU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Atcitty's former adviser. "He was an outstanding student - meticulous, hardworking, but most importantly, naturally inquisitive."

Atcitty was nominated for the award by the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and was recognized "for advances in power electronics for the electric grid including the development of a high-temperature silicon-carbide power module and an ultra-high-voltage silicon-carbide thyristor, for research on grid integration of energy storage, and for mentorship in the Native American community."

Stan enjoys working with students, in particular, American Indian students.

"To be a contributing member of the scientific technical community, while being a member of the Navajo Tribe, is both exhilarating and humbling," he said. "Mentoring American Indian students and encouraging them to do science and math - and to get an education in general, is near and dear to my heart."

The awards will be presented at a White House ceremony on July 31. For a complete list of recipients visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/23/president-obama-honors-outstanding-early-career-scientists.