We are honored to inaugurate the The APAHA Ellison Onizuka Award this year (2012).The award was established in memory of Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian Pacific American astronaut in space. The Ellison Onizuka Memorial Award is given to an Asian/Pacific American who has made notable contributions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The award strives to recognize an individual who embodies the qualities that astronaut Onizuka exemplified through his technical excellence and community outreach efforts. This award is open to the community of science experts in the Greater Houston Area in academia, industry, and the government. The goal of the ELLISON ONIZUKA AWARD is to acknowledge outstanding efforts by an Asian-American living in Texas who has made notable
contributions in science.




DR. KAMLESH (KAM) LULLA serves as the Director for Research Collaborations and Partnerships Office at NASA Johnson Space Center. Dr Lulla is the NASA lead for building research collaborations for future Human Space Exploration initiatives. He has been with NASA for the past 24 years and is an award winning world recognized expert on Space Technologies, and an acclaimed scientist in Earth Observations from Space. As Chief Scientist at NASA, Dr. Lulla is widely recognized for pioneering the “earth-smart” training for NASA astronauts. Dr Lulla also directed the Earth Observations Science including science payloads from the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. His contributions to the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mapping mission team led to the accurate topographic mapping of the globe. Dr Lulla also led the development of educational payloads for school and college students such as EarthKAM-still being used onboard the International Space Station.
Dr Lulla is a prolific author with over 200 research publications and eight books to his credit. Dr Lulla’s recent coedited book “Wings in Orbit” (2011) chronicles the scientific accomplishments of the thirty years of Space Shuttle flights. First Shuttle Commander Astronaut John Young (also walked on the Moon) and first Shuttle pilot Robert Crippen wrote the Preface to this 650 page volume- the only book of its kind on the research results from the Space Shuttle program. In addition, Dr Lulla is chief editor of an international science journal that includes readership from over 35 countries.
Dr Lulla received NASA's highest honor- the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for Science in 2005 among many awards and accolades from the space agency. Dr. Lulla has received numerous awards from professional societies such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Society of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and Association of American Geoscientists. For example, Dr. Lulla received the prestigious Space Remote Sensing Medal from the Association of American Geography (AAG) and the Scientific Achievement Award for Geospatial and Information.
Dr Lulla considers the life of late Col. Ellison Onizuka as his inspiration. Through Ellison Onizuka’s legacy, Dr. Lulla has modeled his life to strive for technical excellence and to remain engaged with the younger generation. He believes that Colonel Onizuka embodied the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi’s sentiment “Be the change you want to bring about”. Colonel Onizuka’s led by example, and his example has inspired Dr. Lulla all these years. Dr. Koichi Wakata of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency so aptly stated “Kam can be considered a torch-bearer of Colonel Onizuka’s ideals of technical excellence and efforts to make a difference in the lives of the younger generations.”


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