Office of Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Alex Martin earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from New York University (2018) and his B.S. in chemistry from Boston College (2013). During his undergraduate career, he conducted atmospheric physical chemistry research related to oxidation pathways, visible light absorption, and the associated radiative forcing of organic aerosols. In his doctoral dissertation, Martin developed polarimetric and ellipsometric measurement techniques and optical modeling methods for material characterization of optically active crystals, thin films, metamaterials, and multilayer structures.
Outside of the lab, Martin has served as a U.S. delegate for the CliMates think tank, a student-run environmental policy group that analyzes national and global policy solutions to mitigate the risks of climate change. During graduate school, Martin served as co-president of the New York University Chemists' Club and organized the Bonding Conference (2017, 2018), an annual sustainability conference aimed at professionals in the chemical, energy, and technology sectors that addresses the U.N. Sustainability Development Goals from a private sector perspective. After earning his doctorate, Martin joined the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as a Mirzayan Fellow with the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems.
Through the Congressional fellowship, Martin hopes to address legislative issues related to vehicle fuel economy standards, electric grid modernization, renewable energy, and industrial decarbonization.
Office of Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
Inspired by material science, renewable energy and the environment, Bustamante received a dual B.S. degree in materials engineering and environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in May 2012, and her Ph.D. degree in sustainability from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2016.
Early in her education, Bustamante secured a National Science Foundation (NSF) summer research internship at the FREEDM Renewable Energy Research Center, where she worked in electrical engineering. Bustamante created a circuit-equivalent model of the Center’s rooftop solar photovoltaic array. Leveraging her materials background, she secured another NSF internship at University of South Florida (USF)’s Clean Energy Research Center in 2011. There, she gained experience using thermal and mechanical processing techniques, such as sintering and ball milling, while creating eutectic salt solutions for thermal energy storage in concentrated solar power plants.
Bustamante’s graduate work focused on an underdeveloped aspect of risk relating to mining—reliance on byproduct sources of supply—since many advanced solar energy technologies are functionally dependent on scarce, byproduct materials. Her thesis work proposed novel metrics, based on features of projected supply and demand, that would enable quantitative comparisons of the effectiveness of different potential policy responses, such as implementing recycling mandates or penalizing waste to improve recovery. This contribution was recently published in Environmental Science & Technology and presented at the 2017 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit. Other aspects of her thesis are also published in high-impact journals, such as Applied Energy, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, and Journal of Materials, presented at internationally-attended conferences, including TMS and Photovoltaics Specialists Conferences, and have been cited 50 times since 2014. As a body of work, these contributions enhance the ability to both assess and address materials’ criticality that threatens to slow or disrupt the growth of clean energy technologies.
Read Bustamante's "Standing up for Science: My Journey as a Congressional Fellow" in the September 2019 issue of JOM.
Office of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Scott Litzelman earned two degrees in Materials Science and Engineering: a B.S. from North Carolina State University (2002) and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009). His doctoral research focused on modulating the ionic and electronic conductivity of nanostructured thin films for solid oxide fuel cells with Harry Tuller. During his doctoral research, Litzelman received the Charlemagne Scholarship to perform secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) research for several months at the RTWH Aachen University in Germany.
After completion of his Ph.D., Litzelman joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a scientific consultant. For the past eight years, he has helped program directors at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) start and manage early-stage R&D funding programs. He supported research programs related to fuel cells, carbon capture and storage, battery separators, energy efficiency, and nanostructured materials. During his time at Booz Allen, Litzelman also explored how open innovation and crowdsourcing methods could provide new means of solving persistent technical challenges.
Litzelman saw the impact of policy on science firsthand when ARPA-E was authorized by the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Although the research programs he supported focused on technology, they exposed him to the importance and impact of policy on scientific funding. He became interested in questions such as how an increasing amount of renewable generation capacity could be integrated with the electrical grid, and how the United States could decarbonize its energy system as quickly and economically as possible.
The intersection of science and policy is something that has always fascinated Litzelman, and he is grateful to have this opportunity.
Read Litzelman's "Learning How to Get Things Done in Congress (Yes It’s Possible)" in the September 2018 issue of JOM.
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 Laurent Capolungo. Dunn served as the Sandia National Laboratories/Georgia Tech Excellence in Engineering Fellow (2014-2016). Prior to that, Dunn'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, Dunn 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.
Dunn'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.
Read Dunn's "Increasing the Voice of Scientists in Politics and Policy: Why It's Happening and Why It's Important" in the September 2017 issue of JOM.
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 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.
Read Ward's "Observations on the Interplay between Science and the U.S. Federal Government" in the September 2016 issue of JOM.
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, Wilson was active in several student-run societies, including the Duke graduate student sustainability group. As a student, Wilson was funded by the National Science Foundation through the Graduate Researcher Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP), and was selected to accompany the U.S. Delegation to the 2013 Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry as a Young Researcher. Wilson 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. Wilson 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. Wilson'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.
Read Wilson's "Negotiating the Landscape of U.S. Science Policy Making: My Journey as a Congressional Fellow" in the September 2015 issue of JOM.
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, Brewster'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, Brewster 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. Brewster 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.
Read Brewster's "The Top Ten Lessons Learned from a Year on Capitol Hill" in the September 2014 issue of JOM.
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.
Read Steigerwald's "A First-Person Perspective on the Congressional Fellowship Experience" in the September 2013 issue of JOM.
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.
Read about Malik in “Congressional Fellow Works at the Epicenter of U.S. Energy Policy” in the September 2012 issue of JOM.
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 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.
Read about Herderick in “Dr. Hederick Goes to Washington” in the November 2010 Meet a Member of JOM.
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. 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. 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.
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