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Alum is 2012-2013 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow

The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) have selected Andrew Steigerwald as the 2012-2013 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow.

Steigerwald earned a Ph.D. in 2010 in Interdisciplinary Materials Science and Engineering from Vanderbilt as an National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Fellow. Currently he is a research associate in the Physics and Astronomy Department

He 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.”

Steigerwald earned his B.E. (2005) from Ohio State University, M.S. (2007) from Fisk University. His thesis work focused on the development of photoacoustic spectroscopy as a technique for characterizing radiation damage in semiconductors. While working on his Ph.D., Steigerwald worked extensively on novel thin-film growth techniques, studied ultrafast dynamics of diluted magnetic semiconducting systems for use in potential spintronic devices, and spent time as a visiting scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Following his Ph.D., Steigerwald continued as a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt, working to understand the nanoscale relationship between structural disorder and optoelectronic modification in optical devices.

Steigerwald’s interest in public policy started at Ohio State University as a member of the Undergraduate Student Senate where he worked to promote the diverse interests of the student body and acted as the liaison to the board of trustees. His time spent at a national laboratory, participation in public-private research ventures, and attendance at a symposium series hosted by Vanderbilt, which focused on the role of scientists in government, helped reinforce Steigerwald’s desire to become directly involved in science policy.