Wilhelmus named to Young Investigator Program by ONR

Brown University’s Thomas J. and Alice M. Tisch Assistant Professor of Engineering Monica Martinez Wilhelmus has been named an awardee of the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) 2024 Young Investigator Program (YIP). Wilhelmus is among 24 recipients who will share nearly $18 million in funding to conduct innovative scientific research that will benefit science and technology for the Department of the Navy.

Wilhelmus was among five honorees from ONR’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department, which explores science and technology in the areas of oceanographic and meteorological observations, modeling and prediction in the battlespace environment; submarine detection and classification (anti-submarine warfare); and mine warfare applications for detecting and neutralizing mines in both the ocean and littoral environment. The ONR YIP is a highly competitive program that attracts outstanding early-career academics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to propose innovative solutions to Navy and Marine Corps warfighter challenges. Established in 1985, the young investigator program is one of the nation’s oldest and most selective basic-research, early-career awards in science and technology, where prior academic accomplishments and potential for significant scientific breakthroughs are key elements of the evaluation criteria.  The 2024 awardees were chosen from more than 220 applicants.

Wilhelmus’ research combines experimental techniques and numerical analyses to understand transport phenomena within the intersection of biology, oceanography, and fluid mechanics. She received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in 2010 and her M.S. (2012) and Ph.D. (2016) degrees, both in mechanical engineering, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In 2016, she held a postdoctoral scholar position to work on a collaborative project between the Ocean Science group at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) and the Environmental Science and Engineering department at Caltech. 

Wilhelmus joins Frank Doyle (1995), Nitin Padture (1996), Andrew Peterson (2012), and Alex Zavlasky (1995) as current School of Engineering faculty who were honored as ONR Young Investigators early in their careers.