Kimberly See, assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected as one of the 2020 Packard Fellows in Science and Engineering. The fellowship, awarded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, provides research funding to early career scientists. See is one of 20 fellows named this year. Each will receive $875,000 over five years.
"I am incredibly honored and humbled to be selected as a 2020 Packard Fellow," See says. "This award is a recognition of all the hard work by my students and postdocs. I'm incredibly lucky to work with such talented people and we are excited to use this opportunity to pursue new battery chemistry. The unique flexibility of the award will allow us to pursue bold ideas."
See's research is focused broadly on improving energy storage through a variety of chemical approaches. Practically, that means developing new chemistry using readily sourced materials for sustainable batteries that are less expensive and last longer.
Her pursuit of better battery technology is rooted in her passion for conservation which began with her childhood in Colorado, where she spent much of her time playing in the outdoors. Now she sees batteries and energy storage as a pivotal part of new green technologies that can help make human society more sustainable.
The Packard Foundation invites 50 universities each year to nominate two faculty members for consideration. An advisory panel of 12 scientists and engineers evaluates the nominations and recommends fellows for approval by the Packard Foundation board of trustees. Caltech's Frances Arnold—Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry and Director of the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center—is the chair of the advisory panel and a former Packard Fellow herself.
"Now more than ever, we need science," said Arnold, who was a 2018 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and 1989 Packard Fellow, in a prepared statement from the Packard Foundation. "In a year when we are confronted by the devastating impacts of a global pandemic, racial injustice, and climate change, these 20 scientists and engineers offer us a ray of hope for the future. Through their research, creativity, and mentorship to their students and labs, these young leaders will help equip us all to better understand and address the problems we face."
See has also received a Beckman Young Investigator Award in 2019, which is providing her with $600,000 in research funding over four years.
She is the 34th researcher from Caltech to be named a Packard Fellow. Recent fellows include Matt Thomson, assistant professor of computational biology and Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, in 2019; Mansi Kasliwal (MS '07, PhD '11), assistant professor of astronomy, in 2018; Konstantin Batygin (MS '10, PhD '12), professor of planetary science, in 2017; Mikhail Shapiro, professor of chemical engineering and Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, in 2016; David Hsieh, professor of physics, in 2015; and Andrew Thompson, professor of environmental science and engineering, in 2014.