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Societies Name Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows

Two PhD candidates at the University of Colorado at Boulder will serve as 2013-2014 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows, the optics and photonics societies OSA, SPIE and the Materials Research Society (MRS) announced Tuesday.

Both one-year terms begin in early September and involve working as special legislative assistants on the staffs of US congressional offices or committees in Washington. The fellows begin with a training and orientation process facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and then participate in an interview and selection process with the offices of senators, representatives or committees on Capitol Hill before choosing the offices in which they will serve.

Carly Robinson, who is studying atmospheric chemistry, will serve as the Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow, sponsored by OSA and SPIE. She hopes to serve her fellowship as a resource to policy makers on science-related issues, particularly climate change, and to educate other scientists on how they can influence science policy.

Robinson's research involves investigating water uptake on atmospherically relevant liquid-liquid separated particles for inclusion in radiative transfer models. She holds an MS in atmospheric chemistry from CU-Boulder and a BS in applied physics and mathematics from Michigan Technological University. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, OSA and SPIE.

Sydney Kaufman, who is completing her doctorate in chemical physics, will serve as the OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow. Her research is in photodissociation spectroscopy of transition metal salts. She is interested in working on energy development policy and in increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields during her fellowship.

Kaufman co-directs the CU-Boulder chapter of the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy and Women of JILA. She is a student representative on the JILA Graduate Student Committee and a science mentor or volunteer for several educational organizations. She received her BS in chemistry from McGill University.

The Congressional Fellows program aims to bring technical and scientific backgrounds and perspectives to the decision-making process in Congress, and to provide scientists with insight into the inner workings of the federal government. Typically, fellows conduct legislative or oversight work, assist in congressional hearings and debates, prepare policy briefs and write speeches as part of their daily responsibilities.

For more information on the selection process and fellowship criteria, visit the websites of SPIE, MRS or OSA .

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