News Release

Release Date: May 09, 2017

Dr. Paul Ohodnicki Selected as a Finalist for a Prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal


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NETL researcher Dr. Paul Ohodnicki has been named a finalist for a prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in the Promising Innovations category. The Service to America Medals, known as the Sammies, are the premier awards dedicated to recognizing America’s best in government service. The finalists will be honored May 9 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as part of Public Service Recognition Week.

Dr. Ohodnicki was among 26 finalists chosen from more than 400 nominees. He was recognized for the impacts he has made in the field of materials science—developing new high-performance materials and integrating them with advanced devices used in harsh environments and in the electricity grid. These advanced functional materials, and the science behind their development, will ultimately help to lower electricity bills and reduce environmental impacts by making energy systems more efficient, improving processes in the oil and gas industry, and paving the way for a more robust, secure, reliable, efficient, and flexible electricity grid.

Dr. Ohodnicki is the principal investigator of a $4.5 million, multi-year project recently awarded by the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technology Office to expand materials discovery and development and to foster full-scale system analysis and demonstrations of new solar inverter technologies. He is also leading or participating in funded project initiatives in the areas of advanced materials and component technology for power inductors, industrial motors, and large power transformers through support from various DOE offices. In addition, Dr. Ohodnicki coordinates the development of a technology roadmap for advanced sensing and measurement technologies under the recently established electricity Grid Modernization Initiative.

The research behind these breakthroughs has made significant contributions to the material science community. Dr. Ohodnicki’s research has amassed more than 1,000 citations in a wide array of publications, bolstering the knowledge base for current and future material science researchers. Dr. Ohodnicki is passionate about educating the public about science and engineering through his position as an Ambassador for the National Academy of Sciences. He inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers by mentoring post-doctoral and graduate students and teaching graduate-level courses at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Named in honor of the Partnership for Public Service’s founder, Samuel J. Heyman, the Sammies have been awarded annually since 2002 and are considered the “Oscars of government service.” This year’s award winners, including Federal Employee of the Year, will be announced on September 27 at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C


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