Rensselaer Professor Kim Lewis Receives NSF CAREER Award
Young Physicist To Investigate Electronics at
the Molecular Level
Lewis, assistant professor of physics, applied physics, and
astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a
prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER)
from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Lewis will use the five-year, approximately $575,000 award
to study electronics at the molecular level. The research seeks
to better understand how molecules are transported through
advanced electronic systems.
“I congratulate Dr. Lewis on this exceptional achievement,
the first-ever NSF CAREER Award in the Department of Physics,
Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer” said Laurie
Leshin, dean of the School of Science
at Rensselaer. “This award will continue to enable the
innovative nanoscience research and outstanding educational
opportunities that Dr. Lewis has been deeply committed to since
she joined Rensselaer. This recognition is clearly well
Lewis’ CAREER program, titled “From Self-Assembled
Monolayers to Molecular Multilayers: The Electronic Properties
of Molecular Junctions,” holds promise to stimulate the
advancement of electronics used in areas as diverse as medicine
and toxic sensing technology. Lewis’ goal is to better
understand and improve the movement of molecules through
electronic systems. Such knowledge would increase the
functionality and efficiency of new devices.
Along with educating undergraduates and graduate students in
the areas of molecular and nano electronics and advanced atomic
force microscopy, Lewis will use this funding to cultivate
broader participation by underrepresented groups in science.
Lewis will develop an educational summer program for students
from historically black colleges and universities to
participate in leading-edge research at Rensselaer.
Lewis joined Rensselaer in 2006 from Louisiana State
University, where she served as a postdoctoral researcher.
Lewis holds a patent for a unique charge transformer technology
and has published multiple articles on her research. She has
received several fellowships and awards for her research
achievements, including the Carl Storm Underrepresented
Minority Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement
Fellowship, and a Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship. She also
has been a leader in efforts to broaden participation of groups
underrepresented in science in the STEM fields. She is
currently the director of the New Orleans Louisiana Minority
Opportunities via Educational Research in Sciences, or NOLA
MOVERS program, as well as director of a new program focused on
aiding students who are having trouble deciding on a science
major at Rensselaer.
She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Dillard
University, her master’s degree in electrical engineering from
the University of Michigan, and her doctoral degree in applied
physics also from the University of Michigan.
The CAREER Award is given to faculty members near the
beginning of their academic careers and is one of the most
competitive awards give by the NSF, placing emphasis on
high-quality research and novel educational initiatives.
For additional information on Lewis’ research at Rensselaer,
Contact: Gabrielle DeMarco
Phone: (518) 276-6542