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PARTNERís Barros and Hsu named COE Students of the Year

JANUARY 9, 2009 —Two university graduate students who are working on PARTNER research have been named Federal Aviation Administration Centers of Excellence 2008 Students of the Year.

Peter A. Barros Jr., a doctoral candidate in the Georgia Institute of Technology Aerospace Department, and Hsiao-Hsien “Leon” Hsu, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health, will receive the award, which includes a $1,000 check for each, at the February 2009 PARTNER advisory board meeting in Palm Springs where they will make presentations on their research.

COE Students of the Year Peter Barros (left) and Leon Hsu .

Peter BarrosLeon Hsu

Barros, who is from Huntington, NY, is a senior graduate researcher with PARTNER’s Project 14, “Environmental Design Space,” which is developing a comprehensive suite of software tools for assessing aviation’s environmental impact. His primary responsibility has been to lead project assessment efforts. In nominating Barros for the award, Project 14 Lead Investigator Dr. Michelle Kirby of Georgia Tech referred to him as a “key contributor” to PARTNER research, writing, “He has demonstrated unique solutions to difficult questions and is an inspiration to the team.”

Hsu is from Taichung, Taiwan. He is a research assistant with PARTNER Project 11, “Health Impacts of Aviation-Related Air Pollutants,” which is examining relationships between aircraft and the contrails they generate. Hsu was co-author of a report examining health risks in proximity to three major US airports, taking the lead in several key areas of the research. Project 11 Lead Investigator Dr. Jonathan Levy of the Harvard School of Public Health said, “Leon has been a key member of the project team since Harvard joined PARTNER, as a staff member and as a doctoral student. He is hard-working and a good team player, and we expect great things from him in years to come.”

PARTNER Director, Dr. Ian Waitz of MIT said, “I congratulate Leon and Peter on this well-deserved recognition of their excellent contributions to critical problems in aviation and the environment. The fact that PARTNER attracts and benefits from stellar students like these is a testament to the strength of the organization.”

The FAA Office of Environment and Energy also lauded the students’ achievements. Its Chief Scientist for the Environment, Dr. Lourdes Maurice, said, “I’m very excited that Peter and Leon are receiving this recognition. I have had the opportunity to interact with both of them, and they represent the reason why I believe we will see a revolution in aviation environmental policy — their research is at the forefront of how science should inform decision makers. Congratulations to both, and, of course, to PARTNER.”

The FAA annually presents the awards at the recommendation of the individual Centers of Excellence, of which PARTNER is one. Recipient selection is based on technical merit and research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.