Assistant Professor Ehsan Khatami, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science, and Assistant Professor David Schuster, from the Department of Psychology in College of Social Sciences, have been chosen to receive the Early Career Investigator Award for 2017. Their selection was recommended by the Early Career Investigator Award Subcommittee, consisting of SJSU Research Foundation Board members and SJSU faculty. They will be honored at the annual SJSU Celebration of Research on April 4, 2018, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Diaz Compean Student Union ballroom. The event is open to the SJSU campus community.
The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Awards recognize tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity (RSCA) as evidenced by their success in securing funds for RSCA, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and carrying out other important scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their careers at SJSU. One award goes to a faculty member in the College of Science or the College of Engineering, and another is made to a faculty member from the other colleges combined. Each winner receives a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.
In the three years since he joined the Physics & Astronomy faculty, Ehsan Khatami has made remarkable contributions to the computational infrastructure and capabilities in the department and college; published extensively in the highest-ranked science journals, including one paper in Nature and two in Science, with co-authors from institutions like MIT, Harvard, and Princeton; and served as research mentor for seven undergraduate and six graduate students.
Dr. Khatami was hired to help expand the department’s offerings in computational physics throughout the curriculum. The first project he undertook was to build the department’s first modern high-performance computational cluster, which is used extensively by students enrolled in big-data courses and undertaking computational research. Because of his computational expertise, Dr. Khatami joined Dr. Sen Chiao as Co-PI on the successful NSF Major Research Instrumentation proposal that funded the $900K supercomputer now installed at the Research Foundation. He also was awarded a three-year NSF Research at Undergraduate Institutions grant for his project on “Disorder in Strongly Correlated Systems.”
Dr. Khatami and his students have expanded their research focus to apply machine learning techniques to the solution of complex quantum problems, and one of his graduate students has been the lead author on two papers, one already published and highlighted in Physical Review X. This paper is just one of the 12 published and two submitted papers that Dr. Khatami and his collaborators have produced since he arrived at SJSU.
In addition, Dr. Khatami has been recognized by others outside the institution. In 2016, he was named one of only seven Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) Scholars. This three-year visiting position is awarded to faculty at teaching-intensive institutions who engage in ongoing research activity, and provides support for six weeks of travel to the KITP program at UC Santa Barbara. He has given several invited talks and has participated in national and international conferences, all of which spread the word about the outstanding research being done at San José State University.
David Schuster joined SJSU’s faculty in August 2013 and established himself early on as a highly productive grant writer and scholar. His research is designed to increase understanding of individual and shared cognition in complex environments and is applicable to areas such as the cognitive aspects of cybersecurity, and perceptual training for real-world pattern recognition in such domains as aviation, transportation security training, and military human-robot interaction.
Dr. Schuster’s grant activity and success have been remarkable. He was granted the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for early career faculty, the CAREER Award, in 2016. Additionally, he serves as Co-PI with an SJSU colleague on a collaborative research NSF grant. He was also awarded a supplemental grant by NSF in support of undergraduate research training at SJSU. Dr. Schuster has been successful in his pursuit of internal grant funding as well, earning a number of awards in support of his research and the research of SJSU students.
Dr. Schuster has also been a productive scholar. He has one co-authored, peer-reviewed article this year, as well as one in press. He has authored four peer-reviewed articles in his short time at SJSU, as well as multiple peer-reviewed proceedings papers, two book chapters, and a number of invited research presentations.
Further, Dr. Schuster has made tremendous contributions to his students’ research productivity. He is serving, or has served, on five master’s thesis committees, chairing two, has an active research lab of undergraduate and graduate students. He also oversees the training of research assistants employed through his grants. He is highly committed to providing SJSU students with top-notch educational opportunities and research training.
Please join us in congratulating our two 2017 Early Career Investigator Award Winners.