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ORAU awards 35 research grants totaling $175,000 to junior faculty at its member universities

GDIT and the AREA fund single grants in new specialty areas

ORAU has awarded competitive research grants totaling $175,000 to 35 junior faculty from its member institutions. Additionally, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (GDIT) and the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA) have partnered with ORAU to fund one award each. The annual grants are made through the organization's Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards program that provides funds to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty.

The awards recognize faculty members for their work in any of five science and technology disciplines: engineering and applied science; life sciences; mathematics and computer science; physical sciences; and policy, management or education. GDIT’s award funds research in supply chain innovation while The AREA’s award focuses on augmented reality in the workplace.

“Each year, ORAU supports the research and professional development of emerging leaders at the universities who are members of our consortium,” said Ken Tobin, ORAU chief research and university partnerships officer. “The Powe Award program is always extremely popular and very competitive. We are grateful to join with GDIT and The AREA in expanding the research focus of these awards.”

“The AREA is excited about supporting faculty research in higher education to support the use of AR in the enterprise,” said Mark Sage, AREA executive director. “Our mission is to further the adoption of interoperable AR-enabled enterprise systems.”

Alex McGuire, GDIT’s vice president and supply chain officer, added, “As a supply chain innovator, we’re honored to support ORAU grant recipients and their research  to advance and apply next-generation science and technology.”

The Powe recipients, each of whom is in the first two years of a tenure track position, will receive $5,000 in seed money for the 2024-25 academic year to enhance their research during the early stages of their careers. Each recipient’s institution matches the Powe award with an additional $5,000, making the total prize worth $10,000 for each winner. Winners may use the grants to purchase equipment, continue research or travel to professional meetings and conferences.

Since the program’s inception, ORAU has awarded 910 grants totaling more than $4.55 million. Including the matching funds from member institutions, ORAU has facilitated grants worth more than $9 million.

The awards, now in their 34th year, are named for Ralph E. Powe, who served as the ORAU councilor from Mississippi State University for 16 years. Powe participated in numerous committees and special projects during his tenure and was elected chair of ORAU’s Council of Sponsoring Institutions. He died in 1996.

Recipients of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards for the 2024-2025 academic year are listed below:

2024-2025 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award Winners
Member Institution ORAU Award Recipient

Augusta University

Evan Goldstein

Catholic University of America

Dominick Rizk [GDIT Award]

Duke University

Di Fang

Fayetteville State University

Chandra Adhikari

Florida International University

Asa Bluck

Iowa State University

Esmat Farzana

Iowa State University

Qiang Zhong

Louisiana State University

Sviatoslav Baranets

Michigan Technological University

Tan Chen

Oakland University

Alycen Wiacek [The AREA Award]

Ohio State University

Zhihui Zhu

Penn State University

Tao Zhou

Purdue University

Justin Andrews

Tulane University

Daniel Howsmon

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Rachel June Smith

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Agnieszka Truszkowska

University of Arizona


University of Arizona

Shang Song

University of Colorado Denver

Stephanie Gilley

University of Colorado Denver

Linyue Gao

University of Delaware

Yan Yang

University of Florida

Angelika Neitzel

University of Houston

Ming Zhong

University of Memphis

Yuan Gao

University of Mississippi

Yi Hua

University of New Mexico

Madura Pathirage

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Lin Ma

University of North Texas

Linlang He

University of Oklahoma

Kasun Kalhara Gunasooriya

University of Texas at El Paso

Eda Koculi

University of Utah

Qilei Zhu

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Whitney Loo

Vanderbilt University

Alexander Schuppe

Vanderbilt University

Lin Meng

Virginia Tech

Jingqiu Liao

Washington University in St. Louis

Xi Wang

Yale University

Huaijin Ken Leon Loh

About the AR for Enterprise Alliance (AREA)
The AR for Enterprise Alliance (AREA) is the only global membership-funded alliance helping to accelerate the adoption of enterprise AR by supporting the growth of a comprehensive ecosystem. The AREA accelerates AR adoption by creating a comprehensive ecosystem for enterprises, providers, and research institutions. AREA is a program of Object Management Group® (OMG®). For more information, visit the AREA website. Object Management Group and OMG are registered trademarks of the Object Management Group. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

ORAU Media Contacts and Information

About ORAU

ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, provides science, health, and workforce solutions that address national priorities and serve the public interest. Through our specialized teams of experts and access to a consortium of more than 150 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local, and commercial customers to provide innovative scientific and technical solutions and help advance their missions. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

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