See all NewsEngineering News
Honors and Awards

Mark Hersam Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Nanomaterials pioneer joins alumni Carolyn Duran and Patricia L. Mokhtarian in receiving prestigious honor


Northwestern Engineering’s Mark Hersam, whose research has led to more effective and sustainable nanomaterials used in electronics, energy storage, and medicine, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Hersam is joined in the 2024 class by McCormick School of Engineering alumni Carolyn Duran (PhD ’98) and Patricia L. Mokhtarian (MS ’77, PhD ’81).

Mark Hersam

Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Hersam, Duran, and Mokhtarian are three of 114 new members and 21 new international members announced by the NAE on February 6. They will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on September 24.

“We are extremely proud to see Mark recognized with the highest honor in our profession,” said Christopher A. Schuh, dean of Northwestern Engineering. “His pioneering work in nanomaterials has helped make Northwestern a leader in the field, while also leading to countless advances in renewable energy and computing.”

Mark Hersam

Hersam, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and (by courtesy) professor of electrical and computer engineering and of chemistry, studies nanomaterials, nanomanufacturing, scanning probe microscopy, nanoelectronics devices, biosensors, renewable energy, and quantum information science. His work includes the synthesis of borophene, a stronger, lighter, and more flexible material than graphene that has the potential to revolutionize batteries, electronics, sensors, solar cells, and quantum computing.

Hersam was cited for “the synthesis, purification, functionalization, and application of low-dimensional nanoelectronic materials.”

As director of the Northwestern University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (NU-MRSEC), Hersam leads the center’s efforts to promote and foster world-class materials research, education, and outreach via active interdisciplinary collaborations and with external partners in academia, industry, national laboratories, and museums. NU-MRSEC maintains two synergistic interdisciplinary research groups, an active seed funding program, and commercialization, shared facilities, education, and outreach programs that disseminate NU-MRSEC research advances to the scientific community. In 2023, the center received a six-year, $18 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Hersam has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, TMS Robert Lansing Hardy Award, AVS Peter Mark Award, MRS Outstanding Young Investigator, US Science Envoy, the MacArthur Fellowship, and eight Teacher of the Year Awards. An elected member of the National Academy of Inventors, he has founded two companies, NanoIntegris and Volexion, which are commercial suppliers of nanoelectronic and battery materials, respectively.

Named a 2023 Highly-Cited Researcher by Clarivate, Hersam has published more than 680 journal articles and owns 78 patents. He earned his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign.

Read more about Mark Hersam

Carolyn Duran 

Carolyn Duran

Duran, an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering and materials science department advisory board member, is senior director of product integrity at Apple, where she leads a global team of approximately 350 technologists focused on product analysis and compliance engineering for Apple’s hardware products. Her role includes product safety, wireless regulatory and compliance, environmental technologies, electromagnetic compatibility, and failure analysis.

Duran was cited for “holistic materials innovations in semiconductor manufacturing.”

Prior to Apple, Duran spent 25 years at Intel Corporation, where she held multiple positions. Her roles spanned technology development, supply chain, responsible minerals, and a corporate charter enabling memory and IO technologies in the product groups.

“Carolyn has led a storied career advancing materials research and technology in industry, first at Intel, and now at Apple,” Schuh said. “We’re very proud to call her one of our own.”

Duran’s honors include being named to Fast Company's “Most Creative People in Business 1000,” Business Insider's “Most Powerful Women Engineers in the World” – where she was ranked second – and receiving the Intel Achievement Award and National Science Foundation Fellowship. She also served as the 2022 president of the Materials Research Society.

Duran earned her PhD in materials science from Northwestern Engineering.

Patricia L. Mokhtarian 

Patricia L. Mokhtarian

Mokhtarian, Clifford and William Greene Jr. Professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has spent more than 40 years researching the application of rigorous quantitative methods to the study of travel behavior, authoring or co-authoring more than 200 refereed journal articles, technical reports, and other publications. Her interests have focused on the impact of telecommunications technology on travel behavior, as well as land use and transportation interactions, attitudes toward travel, multitasking, travel time budgets, induced demand, and congestion-response behavior.

Mokhtarian was cited for “improved transportation systems planning and practice through quantifying human behavior.”

A fellow of the Northwestern University Transportation Center, Mokhtarian earned her MS and PhD from Northwestern Engineering, where she studied operations research and transportation.

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. It has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates, senior professionals in business, academia, and government, who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.