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Current and Past TMS/MRS Congressional Science and
2016-2017 TMS/MRS Congressional Fellowship:
Office of Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)
Aaron Dunn earned his Ph.D. (2016) in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia and his B.S. and B.A. in physics and mathematics respectively (2008), from Rice University in Houston, Texas. His doctoral research focused on the development of stochastic computational tools for efficient simulation of radiation damage accumulation in metals in the research group of Dr. Laurent Capolungo. Aaron served as the Sandia National Laboratories/ Georgia Tech Excellence in Engineering Fellow (2014-2016). Prior to that, Aaron's research was funded by the European Commission under project RADINTERFACES, leading to three years of study at Georgia Tech Lorraine in Metz, France.
Between his undergraduate and graduate studies, Aaron served as a member of Teach For America's 2008 corps, teaching high school geometry and AP calculus at YES Prep Southeast in Houston, Texas. During that time, he served in leadership positions both within Teach For America as a corps member advisor and at YES Prep as a cross-country coach.
Aaron's policy interests are influenced by his unique combination of experiences and range from STEM education to energy and climate policy. Additionally, he is excited for the opportunity to learn about and contribute positively to the legislative process in all areas of policy.
2015-2016 TMS/MRS Congressional Fellowship:
Jeremy W. Ward
Office of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Jeremy W. Ward earned his Ph.D. in Physics (2015) from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, and his B.A. in Physics and Mathematics (2006) from Simpson College in Indianola, IA. His doctoral research interests included investigations on the self-patterning fabrication and electrical properties of solution-processed organic field-effect transistors within the Organic Electronics Research Group led by Prof. Oana D. Jurchescu. Ward was a 2013 Wake Forest University’s Richter Scholar, serving as a visiting researcher within the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) near Barcelona, Spain, and is a National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellow (NSF-GRFP) from 2012 to 2015.
Ward draws from his passion of working with people, specifically those interested in learning and working together in creative and productive ways. He will provide a unique perspective to a Congressional office by drawing from his experiences in the United States military, as a youth soccer coach, as a Ph.D. scholar within the materials science community, and through his strong ties to the secondary education community. While Ward’s future policy interests include STEM education, ranging from early childhood to post-secondary stages, he is looking forward to learning about the interdisciplinary nature of using federal policy to address the science and education-related problems of today.
2014-2015 TMS/MRS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow:
Office of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adria Wilson earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry (2014) from Duke University and her B.S. in Chemistry (2009) from Drexel University. Her thesis work was focused on synthesizing and characterizing bimetallic nanoparticle catalysts with well-controlled structures for investigating the influence of the nanoparticle structure on its performance as a catalyst. During her graduate school career, Adria was active in several student-run societies, including the Duke graduate student sustainability group. As a student, Adria was funded by the National Science Foundation through the Graduate Researcher Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP), and was selected to accompany the US Delegation to the 2013 Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry as a Young Researcher. Adria first discovered her passion for working at the interface of science and policy during her undergraduate studies, while pursuing a minor in political science. Her participation in a Model U.N. conference in particular gave her a glimpse into policy-making at the international level. While continued to learn about policy from a citizen’s perspective by participating in several grassroots campaigns during graduate school, and, as an attendee of the Lindau meeting, had the unique opportunity to engage several Nobel Laureates in one-on-one conversation regarding the relationship between science and the government, and their perspective on some of the most important technological issues that need to be addressed by legislators and scientists in the near future. Adria’s policy interests include renewable energy technology implementation, environmental conservation, and STEM education, but she is also looking forward to learning about and exploring other policy areas.
2013-2014 TMS/MRS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow:
United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Megan Brewster earned her Ph.D. in
Material Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011) and B.S. in Material Science and Engineering from the University of Washington (2006).
While at MIT, Megan's doctoral research led to a deeper understanding of fundamental energy carriers in individual semiconductor nanostructures. She has additional
research experience with ceramics, optical fibers, phosphors, biomaterials, neurobiology, and graphene. Megan's strong interest in the government's ability to enable
technological innovations motivated her to obtain a Ph.D. minor in Technology and Public Policy. Megan is also a deep supporter of women in science, and her numerous
leadership roles (most notably, Graduate Women at MIT co-founder) earned her a variety of accolades, including the Distinguished Dedication Student Leader and Graduate
Woman of Excellence Awards. After receiving her Ph.D. in 2011, Megan moved to GE Global Research in Schenectady, NY where her broad and deep scientific expertise
supported the Durathon battery start-up by developing next-generation technologies. Megan is inspired by the government's ability to unite disparate interests to
realize technological innovations, and sees this fellowship as an exceptional opportunity to pursue policy as a career path.
2012-2013 TMS/MRS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow:
Andrew “Drew” Steigerwald
Office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Andrew Steigerwald earned his B.E. (2005) from Ohio State University, M.S. (2007) from Fisk University and Ph.D. (2010) in Interdisciplinary Materials Science and Engineering from Vanderbilt University as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Fellow. His thesis work focused on the development of photoacoustic spectroscopy as a technique for characterizing radiation damage in semiconductors. While working on his Ph.D., Steigerwald worked extensively on novel thin-film growth techniques, studied ultrafast dynamics of diluted magnetic semiconducting systems for use in potential spintronic devices, and spent time as a visiting scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Following his Ph.D., Steigerwald continued as a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt, working to understand the nanoscale relationship between structural disorder and optoelectronic modification in optical devices.
Steigerwald’s interest in public policy started at Ohio State University as a member of the Undergraduate Student Senate where he worked to promote the diverse interests of the student body and acted as the liaison to the board of trustees. His time spent at an HBC institution, work at a national laboratory, participation in public-private research ventures, and attendance at a symposium series hosted by Vanderbilt, which focused on the role of scientists in government, helped reinforce Steigerwald’s desire to become directly involved in science policy.
2011-2012 TMS/MRS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow:
Jennifer Nekuda Malik
United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Jennifer Nekuda Malik earned her Ph.D. (2008), M.S. (2006), and B.S. (2005) in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from Colorado School of Mines (CSM). Her thesis work was a collaborative project between CSM and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that focused on development and optimization of deposition and processing conditions for liquid-based precursors for copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaics. While working on her Ph.D., Malik earned both an R&D 100 Award and recognition for Excellence in Technology Transfer for her work with hybrid CIGS. Following her Ph.D., Malik worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial College London, characterizing and optimizing the microstructure of both hybrid (organic-inorganic) and organic materials for electronic applications. Malik’s interest in public policy started in high school when she had the opportunity to participate in mock government and see first-hand how public policy is formed. She continued to develop this interest at CSM through the McBride Honors Program.
2009-2010 TMS/MRS/ACerS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow:
Edward D. Herderick
Office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Edward D. Herderick received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from The
Ohio State University in 2009. He received his BS (2005) and MS (2007) in MSE from Ohio State University. His graduate research was done under the advisement of Prof.
Nitin Padture and is focused on the synthesis, characterization, and property measurement of metal-oxide-metal heterojunction nanowires. During his graduate studies, Herderick
was an NSF IGERT fellow (2005-08) and received a Diamond Award from the American Ceramic Society (2008). In addition to his academic work, Herderick was an active member of
the campus community, serving on the OSU Council of Graduate Students for two years and also taking part in many outreach activities to bring students and teachers to
campus. His main area of policy interest is in solutions to the 21st century energy challenge; that is improving the way we generate, transmit, and consume energy to
provide economic growth and strengthen national security in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Herderick’s interest in public policy began by writing letters to the editor of The Columbus Dispatch
and received such positive response he realized the power of the
voice of engineers and scientists to inform the policy making process.
2008-2009 Materials Societies Congressional Fellow:
Office of Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI)
Ticora Jones earned her B.S. degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering
from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Jones conducted post-doctoral research focused on creating and characterizing nanoparticle/composite-based
functional materials at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In graduate school, she co-founded the Graduate Education and Career Development Initiative, an
organization dedicated to providing new student orientation, seminars and workshops for graduate students. Dr. Jones has also been involved in a number of
outreach and educational programs designed to bring accessible scientific and technical role models to students. Prior to her graduate work, she spent a year
working for AAAS, first as a middle school teaching fellow for science and mathematics, and then building infrastructure and creating content for the
Minority Scientists Network, an online portal for Sciencecareers.org.