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MRS Press Release

MRS and TMS Announce 2012-2013 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow

April 27, 2012
Press & Public Relations Contact:

Ryan Rebholz
Communications Manager
Materials Research Society

WARRENDALE, PA – [April 23, 2012] – The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) have selected Andrew Steigerwald, Vanderbilt University, as the 2012-2013 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Steigerwald will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee.

Steigerwald will begin the program in early September in Washington, D.C., starting with an intensive science policy orientation facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for Executive Branch Fellows and Congressional Fellows from more than three dozen scientific societies. Following orientation, the new Fellow will go through an interview and selection process with offices of senators, representatives or committees on Capitol Hill. Offices will extend offers, and Steigerwald will choose the office in which he will spend his fellowship year.

"I'm very excited to represent MRS and TMS as the 2012-2013 Congressional Fellow," says Steigerwald, "learning more about the legislative process and helping to enable lawmakers to make better policy decisions. I'm specifically interested in energy policy, critical mineral and material strategy, broadening the scope of public-private R&D efforts and advocacy for science education and funding, but look forward to working on a wide range of scientific and technical issues."

“The Congressional Fellowship program is an important investment by MRS,” said Kevin Whittlesey, MRS Congressional Fellows subcommittee chair. “Science plays a role in many public policy issues, so the science community has a responsibility to provide expertise that will help inform policy makers. At the same time, the Fellowship program provides our scientists with an educational experience in public policy. Steigerwald has a strong materials science background and the communications skills to apply his training to Capitol Hill. He will be a great asset as legislative staff.”

The purpose of the Congressional Fellowships program is to bring technical and scientific backgrounds and external perspectives to the decision-making process in Congress. Typically, Fellows conduct legislative or oversight work, assist in Congressional hearings and debates, prepare briefs and write speeches as a part of their daily responsibilities. By applying his scientific expertise in this policy environment, Steigerwald will help to broaden awareness of the value of scientist- and engineer-government interaction.

Each year, following a formal application process, finalists are interviewed and a Fellow is selected by committees comprised of volunteer members from MRS and TMS. For more information on the selection process, visit the MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship page on the MRS website. 

About the MRS/TMS Fellow

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 an 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 opt oelectronic 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.

Photo of Steigerwald available upon request at fornataro@mrs.org.  

About The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society

TMS is the professional organization encompassing the entire range of materials science and engineering, from minerals processing and primary metals production to basic research and the advanced applications of materials. Included among its professional and student members are metallurgical and materials engineers, scientists, researchers, educators and administrators from more than 70 countries on six continents. Visit www.tms.org  for more information. 

About the Materials Research Society

MRS is an organization of nearly 14,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government worldwide, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology to improve the quality of life. MRS members are students and professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering—the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans over 80 countries, with 45 percent of members residing outside the United States.

MRS serves and engages members across generations to advance their careers and promote materials research and innovation. The Society produces high-quality meetings and publications, assuring that members of all career stages can present and publish their most important and timely work to an international and interdisciplinary audience. MRS continues to expand its professional development portfolio, as well as promote diversity and inclusion in the scientific workforce, with career services for researchers worldwide. The Society advocates for the importance of scientific research and innovation to policymakers and the community. And the MRS Awards program honors those whose work has already had a major impact in the field, as well as those whose work shows great promise for future leadership.

For more information about the Materials Research Society visit mrs.org and follow @Materials_MRS.