Goddard honored with the first AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science

2/17/2011 1:12:00 PM

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recognized Lynford L. Goddard as the first recipient of the newly established AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.

Lynford L. Goddard
Lynford L. Goddard
The AAAS commended Goddard, an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering (ECE), "for exemplifying an early career scientist eager to share his excitement about science while simultaneously pursuing a competitive research career." He was recognized for designing and implementing the Girls Learning Electrical Engineering (GLEE) summer camp, which seeks to make the field of electrical engineering more accessible to high-school students. He also serves as a mentor to students from underrepresented groups at Illinois.

“Service and leadership are core components of what we do as a college,” stated Ilesanmi Adesida, dean of the College of Engineering. “Engineering at Illinois attracts the best faculty and students who come here to learn and make their contributions to society. Professor Goddard’s work as a mentor and teacher, his research, and his service represent that excellence.”

GLEE camp organizers recruit female students from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds to experience electrical engineering through research facility tours, classroom instruction, and mentorship programs. The campers also work with Goddard and his graduate students on interactive and immersive activities that supplement the concepts covered in the program's curriculum.

Reflecting on his passion for public engagement, Goddard noted that he has always had an innate motivation to teach and interact with students. He learned from his experiences as a tutor in high school and college that "getting [students] excited was a driving force." Goddard said that he is inspired by his colleagues.

"There are a lot of great people doing really good work in terms of education and outreach activities," he remarked. Goddard noted that departmental and institutional support has been a critical factor in his ability to pursue engagement opportunities.

ECE Department Head Andreas Cangellaris, who nominated Goddard for this award, agreed.

"We consider our faculty's outreach and service activities as one of the key components of their contributions," Cangellaris said, adding that developing strong communication skills should be a focus of young faculty. "Assisting them and enabling them in their serving [as communicators] is the duty of every engineering department committed to leadership and excellence in research, education and service."
Goddard joined the University of Illinois faculty in 2007. His academic research focuses on fabricating, characterizing, and modeling individual lasers and photonics-based sensors, instrumentation and integrated circuits, as well as developing new processing techniques and testing novel semiconductor materials and devices. Applications include hydrogen detection for fuel cells, optical spectrum analysis and low noise lasers for metrology and next generation fiber optic communication systems, and optical logic and memory for high speed data processing.

He serves as an associate editor of the IEEE Photonics Journal and an assistant topical editor of the Journal of the Optical Society of America B. He is author or co-author of over 70 publications and was awarded a 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Goddard received BS degrees (with distinction) in math and physics, an MS degree in electrical engineering, and PhD degree in physics from Stanford University.

Established in 2010, the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science recognizes the achievements of individual early-career scientists and engineers who have demonstrated significant contributions to public engagement activities while simultaneously pursuing a research career.

The award will be presented at the 177th AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., which will take place February 17-21.

Contact: Lynford Goddard, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 217/ 244-0799.

For general information regarding the AAAS award or additional background information, contact AAAS Senior Communications Officer Katharine Zambon, 202/326-6434.

If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, editor, Engineering Communications Office, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/244-7716.