WT's Hiranuma is Awarded by the National Science Foundation

Mar 12, 2020
  • Research
  • Science

WT's Hiranuma is Awarded by the National Science Foundation

CONTACT: Dr. Naruki Hiranuma, 806-651-3872,


CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s Dr. Naruki Hiranuma (aka Dr. Seonggi Moon) has been awarded the highly-coveted CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The $500,000 grant will support a five-year project led by Dr. Hiranuma, assistant professor of environmental sciences. The funds will be used to hire two graduate students to boost research efforts in the University's environmental science program, as well as research expenses and teaching activities.

“The NSF CAREER Award is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department and University," said Dr. Angela Spaulding, vice president of research and compliance and dean of graduate school.

A significant component of the award will support educational outreach and the training of future scientists in the Texas Panhandle region. Dr. Hiranuma plans to collaborate with the Canyon Independent School District, the Don Harrington Discovery Center, the National Weather Service in Amarillo, and Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

"I am excited about this new endeavor and an opportunity to assist WT’s research and education community and beyond," Dr. Hiranuma said.

In the project, Dr. Hiranuma aims to fill a gap in research into why the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world, known as the Arctic polar amplification phenomenon. Measurements will be archived in a publicly available university database and will help improve the understanding of ice formation processes. This project directly aligns with NSF’s 10 priority research areas, “Navigating the New Arctic.”

Dr. Hiranuma also was selected in 2018 as one of 84 scientists from across the U.S. to receive significant funding for research as a 2018 Early Career Research Program Award recipient through the Department of Energy. He is one of only two NSF CAREER Award winners in WT’s history; Dr. Arn Womble, assistant professor of civil engineering, won a 2018 NSF CAREER Award for his research in damage occurring from natural disasters.

"Dr. Hiranuma’s research and associated achievement brings recognition to WTAMU as we continue to add these types of milestones to the WT125 goal of becoming a Regional Research University," Spaulding said.

For more information about Dr. Hiranuma's CAREER Award, call 806-651-3872 or email