NAWCAD Lakehurst robotics engineer receives Presidential Early Career Award

By Allison Murawski | Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst Public Affairs | July 17, 2019

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —

President Donald J. Trump named a Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst robotics engineer a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) July 2, 2019.

Dr. James Hing, Advanced Technology Projects Branch head in the NAWCAD Lakehurst Support Equipment (SE) and Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) department, received the honor for his early career work as a robotics engineer.

The PECASE was established in 1996 and is the second highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who have made advancements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and who are dedicated to community service through scientific leadership, public education and community outreach.

Hing’s early career research looked into using robotics to optimize workload and increase safety for Sailors on the flight deck.

“Dr. Hing is an expert and recognized leader in the field of robotics. His research vision has been to provide the warfighter with solutions that reduce workload and make their lives easier, focusing on the use of ordinary and affordable hardware and making them work in the challenging and ‘real’ environments in which the Navy and Marine Corps operate,” said Kathleen P. Donnelly, acting executive director for Lakehurst. “His revolutionary achievements are equaled by few and make him a formidable candidate for this honor.”

Hing helped establish the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) lab, which explores how robotic capabilities can be applied to carrier deck operations and SE/ALRE.

He received the Defense Department Scientist of the Quarter award for the first quarter of 2017 for his research.

“I am extremely honored and fully satisfied just to have been nominated for the PECASE award by my senior leadership,” Hing said. “To have been selected amongst all the amazing engineers and scientists supporting U.S. government agencies was a complete surprise and still has me in a state of disbelief. I've been so fortunate in my career at NAWCAD to have had the opportunity to work on research that fully engages my technical curiosity and also has the potential for positive impact on the safety and operational capabilities of our Sailors and Marines.”

Hing’s STEM outreach includes teaching graduate-level mechanical engineering courses on base through Drexel University, mentoring robotics teams from two New Jersey high schools, and supporting student science competitions and lab tours.

Hing now serves as a branch head overseeing advanced science and technology projects for NAWCAD Lakehurst. He is proud to see his research continue with new early career engineers in the RISE lab.

“I have the privilege of working with an amazing group of engineers that contributed to the success of my research and they continue to expand on that work to do even greater things. I'll cherish this award as recognition of their technical talent and the continuous strong support from senior leadership for science and technology development at NAWCAD,” he said.

This year’s PECASE cohort contains more than 300 researchers from across the country. They will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington later this month.

Brandon Cochenour, a researcher at NAWCAD in Patuxent River, Maryland also received the PECASE recognition.