Megan Brewster Named MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow

In June 2013 it was announced that MSE alum Megan Brewster (UW BS 2006 MSE & MIT PHD 2011 MSE) was selected as the 2013-2014 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Brewster will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee.


WARRENDALE, PA – [June 13, 2013] – The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) have selected Megan Brewster, from GE Global Research, as the 2013-2014 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Brewster will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee.

Brewster will begin her fellowship 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) designed to introduce Executive Branch Fellows and Congressional Fellows from more than three dozen scientific societies to the fellowship program. 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 Brewster will choose the office in which she will spend her fellowship year.

"The government’s ability to unite disparate interests to realize technological innovations has inspired me to pursue a career in federal government," said Brewster, "and the MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship offers an exceptional opportunity for me to catapult myself into this nontraditional career path. I look forward to blending my enthusiasm, scientific expertise, and unique world view as a legislative assistant to address the challenges associated with energy, science diplomacy, sustainability, research funding, and shared facilities."

"Decisions made by Congress, regulatory agencies and local government have profound effects on the way in which science is conducted,” said Kevin Whittlesey, MRS Congressional Fellows subcommittee chair. "By keeping decision makers well informed on the current affairs of the scientific community, Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows ensure the right choices are being made. Brewster has a strong materials science background and the communications skills to apply her training to Capitol Hill. She will be a great asset as legislative staff.”

Ed Herderick, Chair, TMS Public & Governmental Affairs Committee and member of the Congressional Fellowship Selection Committee added, “The Congressional Fellowship program is an important avenue for the materials community to support informed policy making. Policy issues are becoming ever more complex technologically, and Megan is well poised to make a strong contribution applying both her materials expertise and excellent communication skills.”

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 her scientific expertise in this policy environment, Brewster 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.

About the MRS/TMS Fellow

As a materials scientist most recently at GE Global Research, Megan Brewster's scientific expertise supported the Durathon battery start-up by understanding cathode degradation to develop next-generation chemistries. Her prior doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), funded by National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense fellowships, led to a deeper understanding of fundamental energy carriers in individual semiconductor nanostructures. Additionally, Brewster has laboratory experience with ceramics, optical fibers, phosphors, biomaterials, neurobiology and graphene. Her strong interest in science policy began at MIT, where she received her PhD minor in Technology and Public Policy and was co-president of the Science Policy Initiative student group. This interest continues with her active membership on the MRS Government Affairs Committee through the Grassroots Subcommittee. In addition, Brewster is a deep supporter of women in science, and her numerous leadership roles (most notably, Graduate Women at MIT co-founder) have earned her a variety of accolades, including the Distinguished Dedication Student Leader and Graduate Woman of Excellence Awards.

"My interest in science policy began during my doctoral studies at MIT, through the Science Policy Initiative (SPI)," said Brewster. "SPI is a student group that seeks to introduce young scientists and engineers to science policy, and I enthusiastically participated in all of their programming: first a science policy “bootcamp” short course, followed by visits with staffers during Congressional Visits Day (CVD); and regular monthly lunches with local and visiting science policy luminaries. During bootcamp, I was particularly inspired by the proven ability of the federal government to play a unique role in the global scientific enterprise: by pairing scientific ingenuity with market urgency through policies and programs to form powerhouse teams capable of realizing transformative technologies. The CVD experience helped me realize how critical the scientist’s voice is to the legislative process, both in addressing specific science policy issues as well as to share the process by which scientific knowledge is built with policy makers."


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