Society of Women Engineers recognizes Jackie Chen with its highest honor

By Michael Padilla

Photography By Randy Wong

Friday, September 14, 2018

Jackie Chen
TOP HONOR — Jackie Chen, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia, has received the 2018 Achievement Award from the Society of Women Engineers, the society’s highest honor.

Jackie Chen has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the Society of Women Engineers for her impact on the society and the engineering community. The award is the highest honor given by the society and recognizes outstanding technical contributions of at least 20 years in engineering.

The award also recognizes Jackie’s continuing dedication to the society’s mission. SWE highlights the impact and importance of women in engineering across the globe, leading by example and demonstrating that a career in engineering can be a fulfilling, rewarding pursuit for women of any background.

Jackie will accept the award at the society’s annual conference, WE18, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Oct. 19, during the formal awards banquet.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Society of Women Engineers for my research on computational simulation of turbulent reacting flows with complex chemistry,” said Jackie, who has spent her entire career working at Sandia’s world-renowned Combustion Research Facility. “I appreciate the work that SWE continues to do to highlight the importance of STEM and the impact the society has on the future generation of women engineers.”

Chris Shaddix, Jackie’s manager, submitted the nomination for the award. Chris said Jackie has truly outstanding technical achievements, a prodigious technical publication record and extensive professional leadership activities in the engineering profession.

Jackie’s research has led to a deep understanding of the complex interactions of fluid flow and chemistry in flames, as revealed by some of the largest computational simulations ever performed, using some of the world’s largest supercomputers. She has been elected to the most prominent advisory panels in the nation associated with both combustion research and scientific computing research and will be inducted to the National Academy of Engineering in September. Jackie regularly gives plenary and keynote talks and has been interviewed many times by the news media and other public communications associated with these fields.

According to the Web of Science, Jackie has published more than 135 papers — mostly in top research journals. Her papers received more than 580 citations in 2017 alone.

Jackie’s research has focused on elucidating the combined influence of chemical reactions and fluid flow on combustion processes. She has developed a unique computer code to calculate the properties of turbulent fluid flow and flames. The code scales effortlessly across the hundreds of thousands of processors present in modern supercomputers. Jackie has devoted her career to a type of calculation called direct numerical simulation, which is the most accurate approach possible for modeling flames and turbulent flows because it fully resolves all relevant spatial and temporal scales of the flow and its associated chemical reactions.

“The men and women recognized have broken boundaries in their careers and personal lives,” said Penny Wirsing, president of SWE. “They are leaders paving the way to empower and inspire future women engineers across the globe.”