Idaho National Laboratory Distinguished Staff Scientist Vivek Agarwal has been named a 2023 Most Promising Asian American Engineer of the Year (AAEOY). Agarwal is the seventh INL employee honored with the award, which has recognized outstanding Asian American engineers and scientists nationwide since 2002.
The recognition is presented annually as part of National Engineers Week. Past awardees range from Nobel laureates to astronauts.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized with this award,” said Agarwal, who credited his recognition to the “great work INL is doing across multidisciplinary areas of science, technology, engineering and math and in promoting inclusivity.”
Agarwal started at INL as a research and development scientist in 2011. He has since led and participated in multiple projects recognized for advancements in crosscutting applications of artificial intelligence and instrumentation and controls research. His contributions enable sustainment and expanded deployment of reactor technologies essential for a clean energy future.
“Vivek has made many valuable contributions to INL’s research accomplishments,” said Jess Gehin, INL’s associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Technology directorate. “I’m proud to call him a colleague and am thrilled that AAEOY recognized his achievements.”
Agarwal earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Purdue University the same year he joined INL. This award follows other notable honors. In 2019, he and two other INL researchers were among recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers – recognition bestowed by the White House. The Presidential Early Career Award is the highest honor presented by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.
In addition to his multiple awards, Agarwal is a publication chair of the American Nuclear Society’s Human Factors and Instrumenting Controls Division.
Winning the AAEOY award takes on special meaning, Agarwal said, because it is emblematic of INL’s mission to discover, demonstrate and secure innovative nuclear energy solutions, other clean energy options and critical infrastructure.
“Each award has a special significance, but in the end, recognition like this reflects sustained and meaningful contributions to science and society,” Agarwal said.
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