Congratulations to University of Utah mechanical engineering associate professor Ashley Spear, who was one of four faculty members named as Presidential Scholars at the University of Utah for 2022.

The annual awards recognize excellence and achievement for faculty members at the assistant or associate professor level and come with $10,000 in annual funding for three years to support their scholarship and enrich their research activities.

In addition to Spear, the 2022 recipients include Lauri Linder, associate professor in the Acute and Chronic Care Division of the College of Nursing; Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry; and Marcel Paret, associate professor in the Department of Sociology.

“I am so proud of the work these scholars are doing in the classroom, and in their field of study,” said U Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Martell Teasley. “As educators at the U, they are positioned to guide their students and impact our whole community. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Spear received her bachelor’s in architectural engineering from the University of Wyoming and a doctorate in civil engineering from Cornell University.

She has won multiple awards including the department’s professor of the year in 2021, the Early Career Teaching award in 2018, the NSF Faculty Early Career (CAREER) Award in 2019, and the Outstanding Researcher Award in 2020. During her less than eight years at the U, Spear has generated more than $6.3 million in research funding, which has supported nearly 20 graduate students in their education.

Her research is focused on characterizing and simulating three-dimensional cracking in metallic structures, 3-D finite element analysis, concurrent multiscale modeling, microscale characterization of metallic materials, and high-energy X-ray diffraction microscopy.