WWU's Janelle Leger receives $530,000 NSF award

Western Today staff

Western Washington University Assistant Professor Janelle Leger has been awarded a five-year, $530,000 Early CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, an extremely prestigious award given out to a small number of junior faculty members each year in an effort to promote their promising research and scholarship.

Leger, who has a joint posting within both WWU’s Physics and Chemistry departments as a member of the University’s Applied Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC), is conducting research on the use of polymers in electronics, specifically developing innovative ways to use conductive polymers to replace silicon and other inorganic semiconductors in applications such as lighting, solar-energy conversion and solid-state memory to improve performance and reduce cost.

Early CAREER grants are given to faculty members who not only display promising research but who show outstanding promise as teachers and developers of innovative curriculum. Leger is working with several Seattle-area community colleges to smooth the pathways for transfer to WWU for students with an interest in materials science and the AMSEC program. In addition she is active in developing the curriculum for the Materials Science minor at WWU.

“This really is an award for both research and education, which I think speaks to what Western’s undergraduate experience is all about,” said Leger. “The award establishes your research program as being at a high level, and I’m really proud of that – but it also shines a light on the kind of research that undergrads can do here, that elsewhere would be done primarily by graduate students and postdocs.”

For more information on the NSF Early CAREER Award or Leger’s research, contact her at janelle.leger@wwu.edu.