Argonne researcher wins award


From Hispanic Engineering Society

A researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has won the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award from an Hispanic engineering organization, the third Argonne researcher and the second in a row to do so.

Mike Kaminski, at 32 the youngest researcher to win this award, has won the 2004 Outstanding Technical Achievement award from HENAAC, the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Corporation. The award recognizes the contributions of outstanding Hispanic American science, engineering, technology and math professionals.

"I'm very happy, very proud to have won this award," Kaminski said. "Orlando Auciello (Argonne materials scientist) won this award last year, and knowing how brilliant a scientist he is and how much respect people have for his skills, it's a tremendous honor to follow him."

Because HENAAC typically awards prizes in recognition of a career of accomplishments, it's unusual for a researcher as young as Kaminski to have won at such an early point in his career. Kaminski, a materials engineer who leads a research group in nanoscale engineering, has three degrees in nuclear engineering, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he interned at Argonne in 1992, but he only began his full-time career in 1998.

Still, his research is revolutionary. On one project with Argonne deputy associate laboratory director Luis Nunez, also a former HENAAC winner, he studies the use of magnetic nanoparticles in removing toxins and radioactivity. Explaining one possible application, Kaminski said cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have formidable drugs throughout their entire systems that threaten harmful side effects. But if the drugs had magnetic markers attached, doctors could use magnets to concentrate the drug only at the relevant therapy site.

This is the type of research HENAAC is proud to highlight, said Bertha Haro, HENAAC's Corporate & Government Relations Manager.

"The Outstanding Technical Achievement award is based on criteria such as how unique the person's research is, the benefit the research has to humankind, and the person's potential as a role model," Haro said. Though Kaminski's name is Polish, his mother emigrated from Mexico. HENAAC, he said, performs a vital community service by opening people's eyes to the diversity of people like him.

"Diversity is great for innovation, and it helps us grow not just as a group but as a nation. Each person brings something to the table, regardless of race, and it's great that HENAAC plays such a prominent role in helping to remove stereotypes," he said.

Auciello, last year's winner and a senior scientist at Argonne, was excited for Kaminski.

"This award was very well-deserved," he said. "Mike is doing outstanding science here at Argonne, and it's great to see him recognized for that."

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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