Alexie Kolpak and Amos Winter honored with 2017 NSF Faculty Early Career Development Awards

Award supports pioneering research conducted by early career faculty

Spring Term has brought with it an exciting honor from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for two MechE faculty members. Assistant Professors Alexie Kolpak and Amos Winter have both been awarded the 2017 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards.

The CAREER program celebrates early career researchers who are talented educators and conduct groundbreaking research. Kolpak and Winter join faculty from 88 institutions in 34 states who have received grants to support advances in engineering research.

Alexie Kolpak serves as the Rockwell International Career Development Assistant Professor and leads a group studying computational materials design for sustainable energy. She has received a 2017 CAREER Award for her research entitled “Development of Fundamental Relationships Between Surface Structure, Composition, Stability, and Activity of Oxide Electrocatalysts in Aqueous Environments.”

Kolpak was awarded a grant to support research on the design of abundant and environmentally benign materials to be utilized as catalysts for splitting water molecules into their constituent hydrogen and oxygen component elements. Her work will also look at capturing carbon in various forms to render it environmentally benign.

Amos Winter is the Ratan N. Tata Career Development Professor and Director of the Global Engineering and Research (GEAR) Lab which focuses on combining mechanical design theory with user-centered product design to create technological solutions for use in constrained environments. He has received a 2017 CAREER Award for his research entitled “Tuning Passive Prosthetic Leg Dynamics to Create Low-Cost, Robust Devices That Can Replicate Physiological Gait in Multiple Activities of Daily Living.”

Winter has been awarded a grant to characterize the dynamics of prosthetic legs with only passive mechanical elements and without motors or electronic controllers. The hope is to improve the prosthetic legs’ performance and achieve a walking behavior that can assist in daily life.