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MRS, OSA and TMS Announce 2011-2012 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows

by User Not Found | Aug 22, 2011

WARRENDALE, PA – [August 22, 2011] – The Materials Research Society (MRS), along with co-sponsors the Optical Society (OSA) and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), have selected their 2011-2012 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows. Laura Povlich, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, will serve as the MRS/OSA Congressional Fellow. Jennifer Nekuda Malik, a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial College London, will serve as the MRS/TMS Congressional Fellow. Povlich and Malik will each serve one-year terms working as special legislative assistants on the staffs of members of Congress or congressional committees.

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

“The Congressional Fellowship program is an important investment by MRS,” said Kevin Wittlesey, 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 a truly unique public policy educational experience. Laura and Jennifer both have strong materials science backgrounds and the communications skills to apply their training to Capitol Hill. They will both be great assets 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 their scientific expertise in this policy environment, Povlich and Malik 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 Fellows are selected by committees comprised of volunteer members from MRS, OSA and TMS. For more information on the selection process, visit the MRS Web site.

About the MRS/OSA Fellow
Laura Povlich earned her Ph.D. in macromolecular science and engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2011 as a Rackham Merit Fellow and an NIDCR Tissue Engineering and Regeneration Training Grant recipient. Her thesis work involved the development of new conducting polymers to interface neural prosthetic devices with nervous tissue. In 2009, Povlich moved to the University of Delaware and finished her Ph.D. research as a visiting scholar. In 2006 Povlich received her B.S.E. in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan, where she first began her research career as a freshman through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

Povlich’s interest in science policy began in graduate school at Michigan and while researching in Delaware. While attending the “Science Outside the Lab” program through the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University, Povlich was able to learn about the wide variety of organizations involved in forming and implementing science policies, solidifying her desire to pursue a policy career. Povlich’s interests in policy include education, healthcare, science, and the funding of developing technologies.

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

About the MRS/TMS Fellow
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. Malik is specifically interested in education and science outreach as well as development of environmental and energy policy.

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

About the Materials Research Society 
MRS is an international organization of almost 16,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life. MRS members are engaged and enthusiastic 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 more than 40 percent of members residing outside the United States. In addition to its communications and publications portfolio, MRS organizes high-quality scientific meetings, attracting over 13,000 attendees annually and facilitating interactions among a wide range of experts from the cutting edge of the global materials community. MRS is also a recognized leader in education outreach and advocacy for scientific research. More information about the Materials Research Society can be found on its Web site, www.mrs.org.

About The Optical Society
Uniting more than 106,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visitwww.osa.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.