The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals & 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 website.