Dr Michel Manuel from the University of Florida (UF) received seed funding from the Florida Space Grant Consortium and Space Florida in 2012 for her research titled “Crack closure and intrinsic toughening mechanism for shape memory alloy embedded composites”. On February 18, 2016 she received the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. This 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 Dr. Manuel “The NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium has supported my NASA projects for a number of years through senior design projects and a research grant. These funds helped me leverage our larger program on self-healing materials, thus enabling me to achieve this award. I am grateful that the consortium saw fit to support my work at the very beginning stages of my career. I could not have achieved this without their support.”
Dr. Manuel worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center for 10 years until 2008, when she came to UF. In her career, she has studied how different metals absorb shock when a car hits an object. She found lightweight metals, such as magnesium and aluminum, keep drivers safer than steel, which is commonly used to make cars.