May 23, 2022

photo of all moncrief grand challenge winners with karen willcoxThe 2022 Grand Challenge Award Winners (L-R) Tom Yankeelov, Rachel Ward, Jingyi Ann Chen, [Institute Director, Karen Willcox] and Per-Gunnar Martinsson. Absent: Graeme Henkelman. 

Ann Chen, an assistant professor of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, is one of five researchers selected to receive a 2022 W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Grand Challenge Award by the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences.

The Moncrief awards are given to researchers that aim to find solutions to society’s biggest, most important questions. Named in honor of one of the Oden Institute’s greatest benefactors, the late W.A. “Tex” Moncrief was certainly not afraid of tackling any challenge he faced throughout his long and successful career.

The awards are chosen based on their highly compelling research proposals related to challenges affecting the competitiveness and international standing of the nation.

Successful applicants receive a stipend of up to $75,000 to cover the costs necessary for focusing on research and academic programs related to Grand Challenges in computational engineering and sciences.

Chen will use her award to monitor and characterize groundwater aquifers from satellite remote sensing measurements. She will integrate large volumes of this Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data with a 3D geomechanical model to infer aquifer properties in places where direct head data are not available. Chen’s goal is to characterize aquifers using satellite data and inform Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) managers of the optimal pumping/recharge schedule and placement of wells. Chen believes that successful implementation of ASR at the H2Oaks facility in Twin Oaks, Texas will boost drought resiliency and protect endangered local species, and she hopes to see the proposed computational framework adopted by ASR facilities in other cities.

Read the full version of this story on the Oden Institute's website.