Prestigious NSF Grants Awarded to UTEP Early-Career Faculty
Awards will support research, educational components in cyber security and river ecosystems
EL PASO, Texas (Aug. 8, 2023) – Two University of Texas at El Paso researchers have earned one of the nation’s highest awards for early-career faculty in 2023.
Laura Alvarez, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Resource Sciences, received a $550,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The funds will support her research in understanding how river landscapes and their ecological and economic values such as hydroelectric power generation, water storage and recreational resources respond to severe droughts, floods, climate change and human interventions.
Deepak K. Tosh, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, received a grant of $492,000 from the same program. The award will support his work toward enhancing the cyber resiliency of operational technology around critical national infrastructure, such as powerplants, refineries and manufacturing facilities. The research also aims to provide a means to achieve global resiliency by sharing information among physically separated entities.
“CAREER awards are very prestigious,” said Ahmad Itani, Ph.D., UTEP vice president for research. “Earning one is a remarkable achievement for any research institution, and it serves as further evidence of the superb quality of the research and instruction UTEP faculty offer.”
The NSF CAREER Program recognizes junior faculty who have the potential to serve as role models in research and education. For her part, Alvarez will work with students to develop and implement models that allow the quantification and forecasting of the flow and sediment dynamics in field-scale rivers. The expected societal outcomes of the education component are focused on increasing the representation of women in Earth science and creating new literacy in gender equity.
“With the support of this grant, my research and educational pursuits find validation, further affirming my dedication as a teacher-scholar. I am excited to embark on this journey, using it as a catalyst to synergize research and education to drive positive transformation within UTEP's mission,” said Alvarez. “I am profoundly humbled and grateful for being a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award.”
The education plan in Tosh’s project aims to bolster critical infrastructure security skills among the next generation of engineers via the development of hands-on training modules for undergraduate and graduate students from various disciplines, cyber research immersion programs for community college students and summer training sessions for middle and high school teachers.
“Developing cyber secure operational technology for critical infrastructure has been the core pillar of my research agenda,” said Tosh. “Therefore, this award is an important personal milestone of which I am absolutely proud. I’d like to thank NSF and my colleagues for all their support.”
Alvarez’s and Tosh’s awards follow the NSF CAREER grant awarded in May to Alexander Friedman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, in support of his work on the neural mechanisms of decision-making.
About The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving University. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.
Last Updated on August 08, 2023 at 12:00 AM | Originally published August 08, 2023
By MC Staff UTEP Marketing and Communications