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INL researcher named Asian American Engineer of the Year

Science & Technology

IDAHO FALLS — Piyush Sabharwall, a senior staff nuclear researcher at Idaho National Laboratory, has been named an Asian American Engineer of the Year for 2022. He is the sixth person from INL to earn this award.

The awards have been presented in the United States every year since 2002 as part of National Engineers Week to honor outstanding Asian American professionals in academia, public service and industry. It is hosted by the Chinese Institute of Engineers/USA with sponsorship help from corporations and communities.

Over more than 17 years, Sabharwall, a native of New Delhi, has achieved recognition for his expertise in the fields of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, nuclear reactor design, and reactor safety analysis. He has led multiple research projects in these fields and contributed to many more, serving as a trusted leader for INL and its customers.

“Congratulations to Dr. Sabharwall on this prestigious recognition,” said Jess Gehin, INL’s associate laboratory director for Nuclear Science and Technology. “It’s an exciting time in nuclear, and at INL we’re thrilled to have researchers like him pushing clean energy innovation forward.”

Sabharwall earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering at University of Idaho in 2009 and joined INL around the same time. He has played a key role in building and strengthening INL’s strategic partnerships with universities and collaborating with representatives of other national laboratories. His leadership has helped advance science and technology strategy for INL and DOE and to guide researchers in the public and private sectors through complex regulatory landscapes.

In mentoring new talent, Sabharwall has invited several nuclear engineering students to join him in his research at INL, guiding them forward on their career paths. He is an associate professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and an adjunct professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. He has served on graduate student committees for several universities.

He chaired the Idaho Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers from 2016 to 2018, during which it received ASME’s Outstanding Section Award for the first time. His involvement with the American Nuclear Society includes collaborating with ANS past president Steve Nesbit to form the Advanced Reactor Working Group.

As 2021-22 chair of the Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, Sabharwall supported the group’s participation in the community, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen and taking part in highway cleanup projects. He served as chair of the Idaho Falls Community Tennis Association in 2014, organizing tournaments and coaching elementary school children. He has co-coached local youth soccer and baseball teams and is currently the head coach for a U-10 flag football team in Idaho Falls.

Sabharwall said he is “humbled and surprised” by the award. “It’s such an open field, full of amazing people. I figured I had a one-quarter to one percent chance of winning.” He will travel to Los Angeles to accept the award at a banquet scheduled for Aug. 6.

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