Mines Alumna named MRS/TMS 2011-12 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow

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Mines Alumna named MRS/TMS 2011-12 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow

WARRENDALE, PA, August 22, 2011 – The Materials Research Society (MRS), along with co-sponsor The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) selected Mines graduate Jennifer Nekuda Malik as a 2011-2012 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow.
Malik, a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial College London, will serve as the MRS/TMS Congressional Fellow. She will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staffs of members of Congress or congressional committees.
Malik earned her Ph.D. (2008), M.S. (2006) and B.S. (2005) in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from Mines. Her thesis work was a collaborative project between Mines 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.
Her 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 Mines through the McBride Honors Program. Malik is specifically interested in education and science outreach as well as development of environmental and energy policy.
She will begin the fellowship 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, she will go through an interview and selection process with offices of senators, representatives or committees on Capitol Hill. Offices will extend offers and she will choose the office in which she will spend her fellowship year.
The other Fellow, Laura Povlich, will serve as the MRS/Optical Society Fellow and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
“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.
Rachel Fornataro,
Materials Research Society,
Lyndsay Basista,
The Optical Society,
Patti Dobranski,
The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society,
800-759-4867, ext. 218,

Karen Gilbert, Mines, 303-273-3541, KGilbert@mines.edu 

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