Science & Tech

Texas A&M Chemist David Powers Earns Sloan Research Fellowship

The Texas A&M faculty member becomes one of 126 researchers from 60 institutions this year to receive a two-year $75,000 fellowship.
By Shana Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Science February 12, 2020

portrait of david powers
Texas A&M chemist David C. Powers has been named a 2020 Sloan Research Fellow.

Texas A&M College of Science

Texas A&M University chemist David C. Powers has been recognized as a 2020 Sloan Research Fellow by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Powers, who joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in fall 2015, leads a research program that combines the tools of synthetic chemistry to address major unsolved challenges related to sustainable chemical systems, energy conversion and human health. He is one of 126 scientific researchers selected from more than 60 institutions across the U.S. and Canada for the prestigious fellowship, which has been presented annually since 1955 to honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the most promising researchers in their fields.

“To receive a Sloan Research Fellowship is to be told by your fellow scientists that you stand out among your peers,” said Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “A Sloan Research Fellow is someone whose drive, creativity and insight makes them a researcher to watch.”

The two-year, $75,000 fellowships are open to scholars in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists, and winning fellows are selected by independent panels of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become a leader in his or her field.

Beyond being one of only 23 North American chemists selected for a Sloan fellowship this year, Powers is one of four recipients from Texas institutions, joining the University of Houston’s Jakoah Brgoch and Judy Wu and the University of Texas at Austin’s Sean Roberts in representing the Lone Star State. Powers is among a distinguished list of Texas A&M Sloan Fellows, including current and former Texas A&M chemists Robert Lucchese (1988), Kevin Burgess (1993), Gary Sulikowski (1996), Daniel Romo (1998) and Paul Cremer (2002).

“Dave has established a vibrant, highly visible program at the interface of organic, inorganic and materials chemistry,” said Simon W. North, professor and head of Texas A&M Chemistry. “His selection by the Sloan Foundation is well-deserved recognition of his accomplishments and impressive trajectory.”

Powers earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Harvard University in 2011 and completed a four-year National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard prior to coming to Texas A&M, where his research focuses on synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on developing reaction chemistry for sustainable synthesis. His work is independently funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF) and Welch Foundation.

Powers’ previous honors include a 2019 NSF CAREER Award, a 2018 DOE Early Career Research Award and a 2017 Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. In addition to research, he has been recognized for his teaching, earning selection as the 2019-20 recipient of the Montague-CTE Scholar Award for the College of Science, an honor bestowed to one tenure-track faculty member in each of Texas A&M’s academic colleges based on their early ability and interest in teaching.

Learn more about the Sloan Research Fellows Program and see the complete list of 2020 honorees.

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