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Shannon Yee, Georgia Institute of Technology

Newly Elected Member of the MRS Board of Directors

Christine LuscombeShannon Yee is an associate professor at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Yee joined Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014 directly after earning his PhD degree at the University of California Berkeley. In the midst of his studies, he joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) during its inaugural year as the first ARPA-E Fellow. 

Yee earned his BS degree in mechanical engineering in 2007 followed by his MS degree in nuclear engineering in 2008, both from The Ohio State University. In 2008, he was awarded a prestigious Hertz Fellowship. In 2015, Yee was selected for an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award to develop polymer thermoelectrics. Yee is the recipient of the 2017 American Society of Mechanical Engineering Pi-Tau-Sigma Gold Medal Award for “outstanding contributions to the field of Mechanical Engineering in the first decade of one’s career.” In 2019, he was selected for an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award to develop polymer thermal switches. 

Most recently, Yee has been directing the Generation 2 Reinvent the Toilet (G2RT) program, and was recognized as one of Bill Gates's Heroes in the Field in 2021. Additionally, he has been instrumental at Georgia Institute of Technology is helping to establish The New York Climate Exchange and is currently serving as the co-chair for Research, Technology, and Commercialization efforts, coordinating a global community of academic, corporate, and non-profit institutions to address climate change.

Candidate's Statement

I am humbled to have the opportunity to present myself as a candidate for the Board of Directors of MRS.  As a dedicated member of our community, I am deeply committed to furthering the society's mission to promote communication for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology that improves the quality of life worldwide.  This mission personally speaks to my passions as I have been driven throughout my career to integrate materials research into novel technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition globally. Furthermore, I share the society’s vision to build a dynamic, interactive global community in which materials disciplines can convene, collaborate, integrate, and advocate globally for technical excellence.  I share the values of promoting technical excellence, being interdisciplinary, and being broadly inclusive.  Furthermore, I believe I can provide a degree of visionary and dynamic leadership that provides agency and opportunities for others to live our shared value as well.  Most importantly, I share the belief that diversity drives innovation, excellence, and discoveries; I will continue to aspire for better diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) amongst our global membership supporting underrepresented researchers and ending inequitable practices. Allow me to summarize the key points of why I believe I am the right candidate to serve you in this capacity. 

First and foremost, I wholeheartedly embrace the MRS mission, and it speaks to my personal passions to improve quality of life globally.  Most recently, I have been directing the Generation 2 Reinvent the Toilet (G2RT) program, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to address the 3.6B person challenge of providing equitable global sanitation technologies.  The G2RT program is a global collaboration to transform of an infrastructure into an appliance.  This program engaged >95 scientists, engineers, and designers from academia, industry, and the non-profit sector to create a portfolio of reinvented toilet technologies that can treat human waste onsite without need for an input water line or an output sewer connection, thereby arresting human-derived pathogen transmission at the source.  This was truly a global collaboration with representation from ten countries on five continents, and success was achieved by embracing DEI across numerous axes including gender, race, ethnicity, age, discipline, skillset, etc.  In the invention of these technologies, advancements in materials research were integrated in these new technologies that promise to improve the human condition globally.  Materials advancements are often overlooked in the narrative of technology creation.  Therefore, on the Board of Directors I will strive to promote the communication for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology that improve the quality of life worldwide that many of our members are engaged in but are often under appreciated.  

Moreover, I would like to help our society continue to build a dynamic, interactive global community that convenes materials researchers to collaborate, integrate, and advocate for technical excellence.  Core to this vision is people, which make up the community.  Nurturing and safeguarding this community will be my top priority, especially in an unprecedented time of polarization in society.  In the pursuit of technical excellence, we must always recognize that it is the community of people that allow us to live our values when faced with difficult decisions.  Drawing on my experience as an educator, researcher, and leader, as a Director of the Board, I will work tirelessly to provide a platform that empowers early career researchers and underrepresented groups, promotes professional development, and provides mentorship opportunities.  The future of MRS will be determined by how well we can nurture the future generations of members regardless of career choices in academia, industry, or beyond.  I am often described by an abundance of energy that I look forward to bringing to the Board that will enable us to continue to build a dynamic and interactive global community.   

In conclusion, I am deeply honored to be considered for the Board of Directors of MRS. My dedication to the MRS mission, vision, and DEI aspirations, coupled with my experience in research, education, and community engagement, make me well-suited to serve as your representative. Together, let us continue to strive for technical excellence in materials research, fostering an inclusive and globally engaged community, and forward-thinking community. I humbly request your support and vote to help shape the future of MRS. Thank you.