Alumni Hall of Fame

Membership Criteria

Members of ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame are former ARCS Scholars who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating leadership in one or more of the following areas:

  • Scientific innovation and discovery
  • Recognition by peers
  • Mentoring future scientists to fill the STEM pipeline
  • Founding or leading an organization that has had a significant impact on the U.S. economy
  • Increasing awareness of the importance of national scientific competitiveness

Selection Process

One or more Hall of Fame inductees is selected annually by a diverse panel appointed by ARCS Foundation National President.

How to Nominate

  • Nominations for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame may be made by ARCS chapters, individual ARCS members, ARCS advisors, faculty at ARCS Academic Partner institutions, ARCS Scholars and ARCS Alumni.
  • Nominations should be sent to with a statement about why the nominee is worthy of receiving this honor.  Links to online background information about the nominee may be included if appropriate.  Please include ARCS Hall of Fame Nomination in the subject line of your message. 
  • The deadline for nominations is December 10, 2018

Read about Members of ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame in ARCS 2018 Annual Report.

2018 ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, 1991-92 ARCS Scholar at Columbia University

  • Director of the Hayden Planetarium and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Host of NOVA Science Now, Star Talk, and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
  • Winner of the NASA distinguished Public Service Medal, The Isaac Asimov Award, the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication, and Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album

Read more here.

Dr. Tyson discusses the significance being an ARCS Scholar.


Past ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees

2017 Inductees

Suneel Sheikh

· ARCS Alumni Scholar at University of Maryland from 2002-04, sponsored by the Metro Washington Chapter
· Founder, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Chief Research Scientist of ASTER Labs, Inc.
· Recognized leader in the field of aerospace research and scholarship
· Active member of several professional aerospace and astronomical societies
· Holds 7 U.S. patents, one of which is currently used as an experimental navigation system on board the International Space Station
· Continues to inspire future scientists as Outreach Chair on the Board of the North Star Section of the Institute of Navigation, where he runs the ION’s annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Read more here

·  ARCS Alumni Scholar at University of Washington from 1987-88, sponsored by the Seattle Chapter
· Was involved, as the inaugural project scientist, in the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
· Advisor to the United States government on technical issues that affect national security
· Founder of the APOLLO collaboration, which uses lunar laser ranging and the Earth-Moon-Sun system to probe for novel gravitational effects
· Was a member of the team that detected the accelerating expansion of the Universe and discovered “Dark Energy”
· Currently a professor at Harvard University’s Department of Physics and Department of Astronomy

Read more here

2016 Inductees

Inventor of GPS Navigation Technology
Division Manager for Communications, Tracking and Radar; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
ARCS Alum at California Institute of Technology, 1981 &1983 ARCS Scholar Awards, Sponsored by ARCS Los Angeles Chapter
ARCS Hall of Fame 2016

Stephen M. Lichten, Ph.D. Inventor of GPS Navigation Technology

Dr. Lichten leads a division of 550 engineers and scientists that provide scientific and technological expertise to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for deep space and planetary communications, navigational tracking, and active radio frequency (RF) remote sensing. Since joining JPL in 1983, he has developed precision tracking systems using Very Long Baseline Interferometry and the Global Positioning System (GPS). He led a group to determine Earth satellite orbits to better than 1 centimeter accuracy and led JPL’s critical GPS software delivery to the FAA’s GPS Wide Area Augmentation System. This widely-used GPS technology ensures reliability and accuracy of aircraft navigation and is one of the most successful JPL commercialization efforts ever. He also managed the JPL/NASA Deep Space Network Technology Program Work Area for Tracking and Navigation for 15 years.

Steve’s organizations have successfully delivered dozens of science and telecommunications payloads for NASA missions to the Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and have supported missions to other planetary bodies, including Pluto. Steve has 35 refereed publications, 100+ conference papers and presentations, numerous NASA Awards, and four tracking systems-related patents: 3 for GPS, and 1 for formation flying sensors. He was on winning teams for the 1995 NASA Software of the Year (Runner-Up), 2000 NASA Software of the Year (Winner), and was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame (2004 for GPS Precision Software).

Steve acknowledges the unique role ARCS Foundation plays in supporting U.S. science and engineering saying, “The ARCS grant was personally very impactful for me, as I had very limited financial resources at the time. ARCS is a wonderful organization that helps students and early career individuals when they need such help the most. I am very grateful to ARCS for this support, and now, most recently, for recognizing me yet again.”

Environmental Reseacher and Water Policy Force
Duquesne Light Company Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and
Director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems at Carnegie Mellon University
ARCS Alum at Northwestern University, 1992-97 Scholar Award, Sponsored by Illinois Chapter
ARCS Hall of Fame 2016

Jeanne Van Briesen, Ph.D., P.E. - Environmental Researcher and Water Policy Force
Dr. VanBriesen has conducted important research on water quality that impacts local, state, national, and international policy and engineering practices. Her research is in environmental systems, with an emphasis on the role water plays in energy and urban environments. She is an expert in biogeochemistry in drinking water and natural water systems, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Heinz Endowments, to name just a few. She is also an expert on water sustainability. 

Besides her teaching, mentoring, and scientific innovation, Jeanne is a member of numerous boards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board. She has a firm belief that engineers should be leaders across all segments of society and is active in the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, American Society of Civil Engineers, and numerous scientific and educational societies and outreach programs. Her many awards include the 2015 Carnegie Science Center Environmental Award and the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2015 Margaret Petersen Award. She has presented at hundreds of conferences and seminars and published more than 50 scientific papers with 2,800+ citations. Jeanne demonstrates a passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of engineers – especially women -- and is a founding member of ARCS Foundation Pittsburgh Chapter. 

Jeanne says, "ARCS Foundation had a profound effect on my graduate career and my confidence. Knowing that an organization like ARCS recognized my potential and now wants to reward the years of effort I have put into science has strengthened my resolve to work on critical problems and make a difference in the world."

2015 Inductees


Science Author and Healthcare Advocate
Senior Vice President Lown Institute
ARCS Alum at University of California, Santa Cruz, 1982 Scholar Award, Sponsored by Northern California Chapter
Inducted into ARCS Hall of Fame 2015

Shannon Brownlee, M.S. - Science Author and Healthcare Advocate An author and advocate whose work has not only improved public understanding of science and medicine but has also transformed U.S. healthcare.  Winner of a Congressional Commendation and several awards, including being named one of four writers who changed the world (World Congress of Science Journalists); the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting; the Science-in-Society Award; and the Association of Health Care Journalists Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. She received the University of California Santa Cruz Alumni Achievement Award in 2012, two years after being named one of the 45 most influential UCSC graduates. 

"ARCS provided invaluable support, both financial and intellectual, and it came at a time when I was unsure of my ability to contribute meaningfully to the world of science."

Read more about Shannon Brownlee.


Discoverer of the Quark Gluon Plasma
Director of the Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Faculty Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab and professor of Physics at UC Berkeley
ARCS Alum at University of California, Berkeley, 1975 Scholar Award, Sponsored by Northern California Chapter
Inducted into ARCS Hall of Fame 2015

Barbara Jacak, Ph.D. - Director of the Nuclear Science Division She is a leading member of the collaboration that built and operates the PHENIX detector, one of the large colliders currently operating at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and was involved in the discovery of the quark gluon plasma and its strongly coupled, liquid-like behavior. Her research has contributed significantly to our understanding of how the universe evolved. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a Fellow of the American Physical Society; and has published more than 225 scientific papers and given 130 invited talks. She was also the J.R. Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory 1984-87.

"The award from ARCS made a huge difference to me.  There were few female role models in 1975, so the recognition from ARCS was important beyond the financial award." 

Read more about Barbara Jacak.


Prolific Scientist and Expert on Photoconduction
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Senior Scientist and Group Leader
ARCS Alum at California Institute of Technology, 1979 and 1980 Scholar Awards,  Sponsored by Los Angeles Chapter
Inducted into ARCS Hall of Fame 2015

Ralph B. James, PhD. Prolific Scientist and Expert on PhotoconductionDr. Ralph James served as the Associate Laboratory Director for the Energy, Environment and National Security with DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.  He is currently a tenured Senior Scientist and Group Leader at BNL.  His transformative research in photoconductive devices and materials science has led to discoveries ranging from advances in photonic detectors to the emergence of improved semiconductors for astrophysics and medical imaging applications.  He has forged a substantial and lasting impact on the future of science as an inventor, an adviser to U.S. agencies, a scientific and engineering spokesperson, and a science diplomat. Dr. James has authored more than 550 scientific publications, served as editor of 25 books, and holds 21 patents.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE, SPIE, AAAS, OSA, MRS and APS, and he has received numerous prestigious honors, including Discover Magazine Innovator of the Year, six R&D100 awards, IEEE Outstanding Radiation Instrumentation Award, 50 World’s Best Technologies Award, and Frost & Sullivan Invention of the Year, among many others. Dr. James was also the President of SPIE, and served as Chairman of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents representing over 70 scientific societies and 1.4 million scientists and engineers across the globe.

“ARCS played a pivotal role in my uninterrupted pursuit of a Ph.D. by contributing to our economic security while I attended school full-time and by boosting my confidence with the knowledge that a private foundation cared enough for me and my potential to provide this recognition.”

Read more about Ralph James.


Biologist whose discoveries led to new treatments for human disease
Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology
Investigator, Howard Huges Medical Institute
ARCS Alum at University of Arizona, 1985 Scholar Award, Sponsored by Phoenix Chapter
Inducted into ARCS Hall of Fame 2015

David Mangelsdorf Ph.D. Biologist and Investigator, Howard Huges Medical InstituteHis groundbreaking research on orphan receptors helped launch an entire field of biology, leading to important breakthroughs in treating conditions such as heart disease, cancer, infectious parasitic disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and gallstone disease.  From cloning the cellular receptor for vitamin D, which illuminated the genetic basis of osteoporosis and rickets, to co-founding a biotechnology firm, his successes underpin his goal to develop transformative pharmaceuticals. Focusing on the pathways that turn genes on and off, Dr. Mangelsdorf’s work and has lead to new drug targets that might be used to battle metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, and obesity among many other conditions.  A member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, American Association for Cancer Research, and The Endocrine Society, he has won numerous awards, including the Rolf Luft Award in Endocrinology and Diabetes; the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology; and the Heinrich Wieland Prize.  

“Organizations like ARCS are beacons of promise that there is a bright future in American science.” 

Read more about David Mangelsdorf.