These awards recognize individuals under the age of 35 who have applied technical expertise, inventiveness, and leadership abilities to make substantial contributions to R&D programs.

2023 Early Career Technical Achievement Award Recipients


Formal portrait of Steven Gillmer.

Dr. Steven R. Gillmer, for enabling the success of Laboratory prototypes through his creative problem solving, technology innovation, and recognized leadership in the fields of optomechanics and precision engineering.





Formal portrait of Cheryl O'Keefe.

Cheryl A. O’Keefe, for her technical breadth and leadership skills in a wide array of rapid prototyping and system-level analyses spanning air superiority, space control, undersea sensing, missile defense, communications, acoustic sensing, and optical imaging.





Past Early Career Technical Achievement Award Recipients


Dr. Lulu Liu, for innovation and leadership in the development of electro-optic technologies for next-generation directed energy and remote sensing systems. Over the past five years, Liu has proven be a prolific and innovative researcher, a successful program developer, and an exceptional leader.

Dr. Curt M. Schieler, for leadership in developing next-generation optical communication technologies. Schieler has the unique ability to combine deep theoretical insights with strong hardware development skills. His contributions have significantly impacted the future direction of optical communications both within the Laboratory and in the broader community.


Dr. James M. Kurdzo, for his outstanding work in applying his expertise in weather radar systems, severe weather phenomenology, and signal processing to inform complex systems analysis studies and to advance algorithm development in support of programs for improved weather monitoring and prediction.

Dr. Cheryl M. Sorace-Agaskar, for advances in integrated photonics, including the development of the silicon nitride photonic integrated circuit platform that is the primary platform for most of Lincoln Laboratory's integrated photonics programs, and for her leadership in the national integrated photonics community.


Dr. Nicholas D. Hardy, for system analysis expertise and technical insights that have enabled his major contributions to critical challenges in modern optical communications technology, including the demonstration of entanglement-based quantum communications over fiber and free-space channels and of high-rate undersea laser communications.

Dr. Meghan E. Ramsey, for demonstrating excellent technical capabilities and leadership in multi-agency programs that are addressing the threats from emerging pathogens, the pathology of infectious diseases, the development of medical countermeasures, research in aerosol science, and biodefense response and recovery.


Dr, Brian G. Saar, for his development of innovative concepts in active infrared technology and systems for spectroscopy, chemical defense, sensing, and countermeasures. His contributions span new devices, technical concepts, and revolutionary system developments. He has had significant impact on programs ranging from optical spectroscopy and semiconductor laser development to infrared countermeasure and space control systems.

Dr. Emily Shen, for her outstanding technical contributions and leadership in the area of advanced cryptography, particularly in the design, development, and application of secure multi-party computation (MPC) technology. She has provided technical vision and leadership as the principal investigator of a large portfolio of programs on the design, development, and application of a framework for rapidly prototyping and evaluating MPC solutions.


Dr. Danelle C. Shah, for her contributions to the research and development of data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence techniques. Danelle is a technical expert in the application of advanced data science and automation for intelligence and decision support. She has applied her skills across multiple projects and missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and education in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Dr. Thomas Sebastian, for his innovative new concepts in aerospace systems, including micro–unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), thermal management of high-energy lasers, and biodefense sensors. Thomas is a technical expert in aerodynamics and aero-system design. Recently, he led the development of a low-acoustic-signature propeller for UAVs and helped demonstrate the world’s first electro-aerodynamic propulsion system.


Dr. Lori D. Layne, for her significant contributions in the development of algorithms and architectures for ballistic missile defense and for applying novel concepts in graphical networks and optimization techniques to sensor discrimination and weapon scheduling for the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

Dr. Alexander M. Stolyarov, for his pioneering work in the research and development of advanced functional fibers and for his outstanding leadership in nucleating and growing a new field of multifunctional fiber device technology as a core MIT Lincoln Laboratory competency area.


Dr. Emily E. Fenn, for her significant technical contributions to the field of air vehicle survivability, and for her expert analysis of infrared systems in support of research programs at national laboratories and studies for the U.S. Air Force Red Team.

Dr. Vijay N. Gadepally, for his outstanding technical leadership, produc-tivity, and creativity in advancing high-performance computing at Lincoln Laboratory and throughout the academic computing community, and for significant efforts in support of the Lincoln Laboratory Supercomputing Center.


Dr. Bow-Nan Cheng, for his work in the development, understanding, and standardization of radio-to-router interface technology as a means to separate radio and router functionality and to allow greater interoperability among systems.

Dr. Francesca D. D'Arcangelo, for her systems analyses and architecture development in the areas of counter–unmanned aircraft systems, chemical and biological threat detection, air security, border monitoring, and maritime security.


Dr. Matthew T. Cornick, for his work in the development and operational support of a novel ground-penetrating radar, his stellar analysis and project leadership skills in fast-paced assessment and rapid prototyping programs, and his contributions to the characterization of  low-frequency RF, very high-frequency, and ultrahigh-frequency phenomenology for various applications.

Dr. Hamed Okhravi, for his development of a critical road map and associated analytical tools for cyber resiliency analyses of moving target systems; technical leadership in developing and analyzing secure applications; and substantial contributions to the literature on cyber security.


Dr. Brooke E. Shrader, for her work on a new class of network protocols that mitigate channel impairments commonly encountered by mobile communication networks, for the development of a protocol capable of exploiting the inherent link diversity in heterogeneous tactical networks, and for innovations in the concept of network routing overlays.

Scott Van Broekhoven, for his technical understanding, execution ability, initiative, and innovative thinking in work on advanced energy systems and miniature unmanned aerial vehicles; and for his ability to lead the execution of major design and test efforts with their rigorous controls and processes.


Laura A. Kennedy, for her contributions to a wide range of technical areas, including analysis and algorithm development integral to systems such as the Optical Processing Architecture at Lincoln, and for her thorough understanding of the types of systems MIT Lincoln Laboratory develops.

Dr. Jason R. Thornton, for his development of novel video-analysis methods that transformed MIT Lincoln Laboratory's ground-based video analytics capabilities, and for research that significantly improved the performance of video processing systems.


Michael T. Boulet, for his technical abilities and vision in putting together a coherent strategy for Lincoln Laboratory's overall autonomous systems effort, and for his technical and design support to important communications programs, including airborne laser communications and on-the-move satellite communications.

Dr. Mykel J. Kochenderfer, for his development of advanced decision theoretic techniques used in systems for solving problems in air traffic control, and for work instrumental to improving air traffic safety, including the development of a new collision avoidance system.


Nadya T. Bliss, for her work in parallel computing, computer architectures, and graph processing algorithms, and for leadership in efforts in anomaly detection in graph-based data.

Dr.  Timothy M. Hancock, for development of small-form-factor RF systems and hardware to support high-data-rate communication systems and for leadership in hardware development for a high-data-rate, multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO)-based communication system.