February 18, 2014
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientist Kristopher Karnauskas has been selected to receive a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship. Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars—the next generation of scientific leaders.
“For more than half a century, the Sloan Foundation has been proud to honor the best young scientific minds and support them during a crucial phase of their careers when early funding and recognition can really make a difference,” said Dr. Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “These researchers are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge in unprecedented ways.”
Karnauskas, who is an associate scientist in WHOI’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, is one of 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers selected as recipients this year.
“I’m surprised and deeply honored by this award. While this may be an individual award, I know that any success I have had is entirely a result of being surrounded by exceptionally wonderful mentors, colleagues, and students,” Karnauskas said.
Awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are given through close cooperation with the scientific community. Fellow scientists must nominate candidates, and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field. Fellows receive $50,000 to further their research.
“Kris is an exceptional young scientist and an enthusiastic and effective educator, working on important topics and successfully engaging undergraduate and graduate students both in the classroom and in his research,” said Daniel McCorkle, Chair of WHOI’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. “This fellowship provides a well-deserved recognition of his accomplishments and will help him continue his active research program.”
Karnauskas’ research focuses on the dynamics of the tropical ocean and atmosphere as a coupled system, how and why the climate system has changed in the past, and how climate will continue to change in the future—both naturally and as driven by human activities.
“This is a really exciting time to be studying the ocean and its role in the climate system,” he said. “There are such vast amounts of observational data being collected, powerful computers running models, and all I can say is it is fun just trying to make sense of a small piece of it. The Sloan Fellowship will provide the flexibility to think as broadly as I possibly can.”
Karnauskas came to WHOI in 2009 as an assistant scientist and was promoted to associate scientist in 2013. He was awarded a three-year Moltz Fellowship in 2013 from the WHOI Ocean and Climate Change Institute. In addition to his research, Karnauskas also advises graduate students in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, as well as undergraduate guest students, and he has taught in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College.
Karnauskas received a B.S. degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Wisconsin in 2004, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2007. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 2008 and 2009.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment.