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ASPE Early Career Award

Award Description and Purpose

ASPE benefits greatly from the infusion of energy and new ideas brought by members who are in the early stages of their career. The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding technical contributions from this group and to encourage them to continue to be active in the Society.


ASPE is proud to recognize the following Early Career Award Winners

Dr. Michael Cullinan – University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Michael Cullinan is currently a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His involvement with  ASPE began as a student and has continued with his active participation in various ways including his current chairmanship of the Micro‐Nano TLC (MNTLC), organizer of two MNTLC topical meetings and as the associate editor for the journal of the Society. He is a prolific author with many publications in the Society’s journal and conference proceedings.

Dr. Cullinan is recognized for his application of precision engineering to micro and nano scale manufacturing and metrology. His contributions include development of additive manufacturing at the micro‐nano scale, in‐line nanometrology for roll‐to‐roll processes and MEMS sensors for testing nanoscale additive manufacturing processes.

Dr. Nick Horvath – Lockheed Martin

Dr. Nick Horvath received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His pre‐university practical experience as a machinist and nuclear-certified welder helped him to become one of the top students at the university and aided him in his research activities. As an undergraduate he led a senior capstone design team that demonstrated the design, manufacture, and assembly of a miniaturized snap‐together three‐mirror off‐axis freeform telescope with only seven total parts. This work was the subject of a paper at the 2017 Annual Meeting. He continued to work in diamond machining of free‐form and snap-together optics during his Ph.D. studies. Following graduation, he moved to Oak Ridge National Lab where drew on his experience in optical design and fabrication to create a new thrust area in machining of free‐form optics from silicon carbide from additively manufactured preforms. He is now a Staff Research Scientist at Lockheed Martin, and has published in Precision Engineering, as well as several other prestigious journals, and shows every indication of being a life‐long valuable member of ASPE.

Dr. Horvath is recognized for his leadership and contributions to a wide range of precision design and manufacturing applications, including ultra‐precision machining, the design and fabrication of snap-together optical assemblies, and the use of additive manufacturing techniques to create silicon carbide preforms for lightweight optics.