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MRS Press Release

MRS and TMS Announce 2013-2014 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow

June 13, 2013
Press & Public Relations Contact:

Ryan Rebholz
Communications Manager
Materials Research Society

WARRENDALE, PA – The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) have selected Megan Brewster from GE Global Research as the 2013-2014 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Brewster will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee.

Brewster will begin her fellowship 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) designed to introduce Executive Branch Fellows and Congressional Fellows from more than three dozen scientific societies to the fellowship program. 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 Brewster will choose the office in which she will spend her fellowship year.

"The government’s ability to unite disparate interests to realize technological innovations has inspired me to pursue a career in federal government," said Brewster, "and the MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship offers an exceptional opportunity for me to catapult myself into this nontraditional career path. I look forward to blending my enthusiasm, scientific expertise, and unique world view as a legislative assistant to address the challenges associated with energy, science diplomacy, sustainability, research funding, and shared facilities."

"Decisions made by Congress, regulatory agencies and local government have profound effects on the way in which science is conducted,” said Kevin Whittlesey, MRS Congressional Fellows subcommittee chair. "By keeping decision makers well informed on the current affairs of the scientific community, Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows ensure the right choices are being made. Brewster has a strong materials science background and the communications skills to apply her training to Capitol Hill. She will be a great asset as legislative staff.”

Ed Herderick, Chair, TMS Public & Governmental Affairs Committee and member of the Congressional Fellowship Selection Committee added, “The Congressional Fellowship program is an important avenue for the materials community to support informed policy making. Policy issues are becoming ever more complex technologically, and Megan is well poised to make a strong contribution applying both her materials expertise and excellent communication skills.”

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 her scientific expertise in this policy environment, Brewster 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 website.

About the MRS/TMS Fellow

As a materials scientist most recently at GE Global Research, Megan Brewster's scientific expertise supported the Durathon battery start-up by understanding cathode degradation to develop next-generation chemistries. Her prior doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), funded by National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense fellowships, led to a deeper understanding of fundamental energy carriers in individual semiconductor nanostructures. Additionally, Brewster has laboratory experience with ceramics, optical fibers, phosphors, biomaterials, neurobiology and graphene. Her strong interest in science policy began at MIT, where she received her PhD minor in Technology and Public Policy and was co-president of the Science Policy Initiative student group. This interest continues with her active membership on the MRS Government Affairs Committee through the Grassroots Subcommittee. In addition, Brewste r is a deep supporter of women in science, and her numerous leadership roles (most notably, Graduate Women at MIT co-founder) have earned her a variety of accolades, including the Distinguished Dedication Student Leader and Graduate Woman of Excellence Awards.

"My interest in science policy began during my doctoral studies at MIT, through the Science Policy Initiative (SPI)," said Brewster. "SPI is a student group that seeks to introduce young scientists and engineers to science policy, and I enthusiastically participated in all of their programming: first a science policy “bootcamp” short course, followed by visits with staffers during Congressional Visits Day (CVD); and regular monthly lunches with local and visiting science policy luminaries. During bootcamp, I was particularly inspired by the proven ability of the federal government to play a unique role in the global scientific enterprise: by pairing scientific ingenuity with market urgency through policies and programs to form powerhouse teams capable of realizing transformative technologies. The CVD experience helped me realize how critical the scientist’s voice is to the legislative process, both in addressing sp ecific science policy issues as well as to share the process by which scientific knowledge is built with policy makers."

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

About The Minerals, Metals & 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 over 12,000 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 90 countries, with approximately 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.