President Barack Obama honored Vanderbilt researcher Christopher J. Lemons during the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers at the White House May 5.
Lemons was honored “For unwavering commitment and work for students with disabilities, such as Down syndrome, that has led to improved quality of life, access to education and opportunities to learn and contribute to society,” according to the White House official record of the event.
PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Lemons is among only two in the nation selected in the Department of Education category.
Lemons is an assistant professor of special education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development, and co-director of the Nashville Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention. He is also a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator.
His research focuses on enhancing reading interventions for students with learning and intellectual disabilities, including Down syndrome. He works to improve special educators’ abilities to use data to adapt and intensify academic interventions for students with severe and persistent learning needs. He also studies peer-mediated instruction as a method to improve academic outcomes of students.
This year’s honorees, which included Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Sachin Patel, were notified in February.