OSA, MRS, and SPIE name congressional science/engineering fellows.

Press Release Summary:

The Optical Society (OSA), Materials Research Society (MRS), and SPIE selected Felicia Lucci and Kenneth Kort for 2016–2017 Congressional Fellowship Program. Starting in September, one-year terms for Lucci and Kort begin with training and orientation facilitated by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows will participate in interview and selection process with offices of senators, representatives, and/or committees before selecting office in which they will serve.

Original Press Release:

The Optical Society (OSA), Materials Research Society (MRS) and SPIE, Announce 2016-2017 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows

WASHINGTON — The Optical Society (OSA), the Materials Research Society (MRS) and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics,  are pleased to announce the selection of Felicia Lucci and Kenneth Kort for the 2016-2017 Congressional Fellowship Program. Felicia Lucci, a PhD candidate at Tufts University, will serve as the 2016-2017 OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow and Kenneth Kort, PhD, a graduate of the University of Buffalo, will serve as 2016-2017 Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow, which is co-sponsored by OSA and SPIE. The Fellows will each serve a one-year term as special legislative assistants on the staffs of U.S. congressional offices or committees in Washington, D.C.

September will mark the start date of both Lucci and Kort’s one-year term, beginning with comprehensive training and orientation, which will be facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The Fellows will participate in an interview and selection process with offices of senators, representatives and/or committees on Capitol Hill before selecting the office in which they will serve for the next year.

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

Each year, following a formal application process, finalists are interviewed and Congressional Fellows are selected by a committee comprised of volunteer members from OSA, MRS and SPIE. For more information on the selection process and fellowship criteria; visit the OSA, MRS, or SPIE websites.

OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow:

Felicia Lucci expects to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry from Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA, this summer where she studied surface catalyzed chemical reactions that are important to industrial catalysts and energy production. Through collaborations with both theoretical chemists and chemical engineers, her research guided the design of a new generation of improved platinum-based catalysts with enhanced reactivity and selectivity that utilized single isolated reactive atoms in inert metallic hosts.

She received her B.A. in chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, where she first developed an interest in disseminating scientific results. In graduate school, her volunteer efforts emphasized empowerment of the general public and young chemists to make educated decisions based on scientific fact. As chair of the Northeastern Section Younger Chemist Committee, she created opportunities to increase the interaction of young chemists with established chemists locally, nationally, and internationally. She also developed classes on renewable energy and nanoscience specifically targeted to multiple audiences including elementary students, high school students and senior citizens. Though the scientific topics of her volunteer work have been diverse, from alternative energy to science diplomacy, she has been committed to communicating impactful scientific results to the general public.

Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow

Kenneth Kort holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University at Buffalo, New York, USA. As an undergraduate, Kenneth was a member of the University at Buffalo’s Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and served as a representative to the university’s Student Association. Kenneth is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, and Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity, both of which he continued to be active while in graduate school by serving as advisor.

Kenneth’s graduate research focused on the synthesis, characterization, and spectroscopic studies of novel nanostructured materials. In 2011, Kenneth was selected as a National Science Foundation — East Asia Pacific Summer Institute Fellow, where he spent a summer in South Korea carrying out research at Pusan National University. In 2014, Kenneth served as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences where he worked on the National Materials and Manufacturing Board. He was also the recipient of the 2014-2015 New York Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy Graduate Student Award for his research on Raman spectroscopy for the determination of free electron density in III-V semiconductors.

After his graduation, Kenneth was hired by the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics to assist with the launch of Buffalo Manufacturing Works, an advanced manufacturing institute to be operated by EWI. After his one year appointment with the University at Buffalo Kenneth became a full-time employee of EWI, where he has worked within their additive manufacturing group and materials and testing group.

Kenneth is eager to serve as the 2016-2017 Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow. He has long been interested in policy and believes that his scientific and technical background will allow him to meaningfully contribute to the legislative process, particularly those that pertain to renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, and optoelectronics.

About OSA

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org/100.

About MRS

The Materials Research Society (MRS) is an international organization of almost 16,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life. MRS members are engaged and enthusiastic professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering—the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans over 90 countries, with more than 48 percent of members residing outside the United States. In addition to its communications and publications portfolio, MRS organizes high-quality scientific meetings, attracting over 13,000 attendees annually and facilitating interactions among a wide range of experts from the cutting edge of the global materials community. MRS is also a recognized leader in education outreach and advocacy for scientific research. More information about the Materials Research Society can be found on its website www.mrs.org.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2015, SPIE provided more than $5.2 million in support of education and outreach programs. For more information about SPIE, visit www.spie.org.

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