Li Cai: CRESST Co-Director Named Outstanding Early Career Scientist by President Obama

CRESST's Co-Director was the sole recipient of the Award, as recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

President Obama announced today that UCLA Associate Professor Li Cai was named as a Presidential Early Career Scientist for 2012. A professor in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies and Co-Director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Professor Cai was the sole recipient from the U.S. Department of Education. He was honored for his early contributions to improved measurement methods, particularly in the area of statistical computing.

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers is the “highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers,” according to a White House news release.  Ninety-six researchers were named ranging from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Discoveries in science and technology not only strengthen our economy, they inspire us as a people,” President Obama said.  “The impressive accomplishments of today’s awardees so early in their careers promise even greater advances in the years ahead.”

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the President and my fellow scientists so early in my professional life,” said Li Cai. “I couldn’t have possibly come this far without the support of the school and my colleagues at CRESST. I look forward to the challenging and important work before us in the field of education.”

“It’s an understatement to say that our school is delighted by President Obama’s recognition of Li Cai’s early contributions to research and teaching,” said Megan Franke, Interim Dean of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. “Professor Cai exemplifies the dedication and commitment needed to consistently improve education in our nation.”

President Clinton established the Presidential Early Career Scientist Awards in 1996 to recognize individuals for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service.

“Li Cai is a brilliant scholar and his recognition as the only recipient from the Department of Education brings honor to his field,” said CRESST Director and GSE&IS Professor Eva Baker. “In his role as new Co-Director of CRESST,” added Baker, “we look forward to his leadership in meeting the challenges of scholarship in the future.”


Pictured above: Associate Professor and CRESST Co-Director Li Cai was recognized as a 2012 Presidential Early Career Scientist by President Obama on July 31, the sole recipient from the U.S. Department of Education.

L-R: John Easton, director, Institute of Education Sciences; Cai, and John Holdren, director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Photo by Sandy Schaeffer