National Institute on Aging

Two Blacks Among Three Winners of the Waterman Award From the National Science Foundation

The Alan T. Waterman Award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. The annual award is the nation’s highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five-year period for scientific research or advanced study in the science and engineering disciplines supported by the National Science Foundation at the institution of their choice.

This year three scholars were selected to receive the Waterman Award. Two of the winners are Black.

Natalie King, an associate professor of science education at Georgia State University, was recognized “for groundbreaking scholarship in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education that transcends disciplinary boundaries and directly impacts local and global communities, and for demonstrating exceptional research achievements with tremendous impact on the advancement of Black girls in science, the use of research-practice partnerships to drive K-12 instruction, and the increase of STEM teacher diversity.”

Professor King earned a bachelor’s degree in applied physiology and kinesiology, a master’s degree in special education, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in science education, all from the University of Florida.

Asegun Henry is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research is focused on energy storage, heat transfer, and phonons. Dr. Henry was recognized “for significant contributions in new energy technologies and advanced fundamental understanding of heat transfer addressing a broad range of problems that span from the atomic scale (the physics of heat conduction) to the gigawatt scale (grid-level energy storage).”

Dr. Henry joined the faculty at MIT in 2018, where he directs the Atomistic Simulation & Energy Research Group. Prior to MIT, he was an assistant professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 2012 to 2018. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Florida A&M University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT.


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