President honors NOAA early career scientists for innovative research

Fisheries biologist and two atmospheric scientists to receive awards
January 13, 2017 President Obama has named three NOAA-supported scientists as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for 2014. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on federally funded early career science and engineering professionals.
Healthy coral reefs are one of Earth’s most valuable ecosystems, and support thousands of marine life species. Here, black sea bass swim through the reef in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

“I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work,” President Obama said in a statement when the 102 young federal scientists and researchers were named as winners. “These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that Federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”

The honorees are Mandy Karnauskas, Ph.D., of NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami; Anne Perring, Ph.D., of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder; and Corey Potvin, Ph.D., of the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS), a partnership of NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.

Pioneers in fishery, climate and weather research

Mandy Karnauskas is recognized for her scientific productivity and innovative research in ecosystem assessments and fisheries oceanography, supporting the sustainable management of marine resources. As part of NOAA's Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program, she and her team discovered evidence of a climate-driven, ecosystem-wide reorganization in the Gulf of Mexico. She also developed novel methods to link the physical environment to biological responses in economically important fish populations. In collaboration with partners, she developed indicators for the Gulf of Mexico to monitor the status of and changes to the ecosystem. Her contributions toward predicting ecosystem-driven population changes strengthen the effectiveness of fisheries management in the region. Karnauskas serves as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students and is active in educating fishing industry members about the science used to manage marine resources. Karnauskas served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Ph.D. in marine biology and fisheries from the University of Miami.  

Mandy Karnauskas
Mandy Karnauskas (NOAA)


Anne Perring is an atmospheric scientist with CIRES who works for NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory Chemical Sciences Division to characterize and understand atmospheric particles, called aerosols, and how they affect climate and air quality. She was part of the NOAA-led team that produced an independent assessment of the oil leak in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of 2010 and evaluated the air quality implications of the spill and cleanup efforts, including the burning of oil on the surface. Perring has traveled the world for NOAA and NASA to study black carbon, an aerosol that can influence climate warming. Recently, she has expanded her research into a new field that aims to understand “bioaerosols”—bacteria, fungi, and pollen in the air that can affect cloud formation, rain, snow, and human health. She received her Ph.D. in atmospheric chemistry from the University of California Berkeley and bachelor of science in chemistry from Brown University.

Anne Parring
Anne Parring (NOAA)


Corey Potvin is a CIMMS research meteorologist who is making key contributions to NOAA’s mission to revolutionize the way the American public is warned about tornadoes and other threats associated with severe thunderstorms. He is a leader in the development of numerical weather prediction models used to better capture the structure and evolution of thunderstorms in order to provide more precise and reliable warnings of severe weather with much longer lead time. Potvin collaborates with a wide range of federal and academic scientists to pioneer severe weather prediction that is designed to save lives and property and create a more weather ready nation. Potvin received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Lyndon State College.

Corey Potvin
Corey Potvin (NOAA)


Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

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