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The Optical Society (OSA), along with co-sponsors SPIE and the Materials Research Society (MRS), has selected its 2008-2009 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows. Robert Saunders, a post-doctoral fellow in the Duke Advanced Imaging Laboratories, will serve as the Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow (co-sponsored with SPIE) and Amit Mistry, a science policy intern at Research! America, will serve as the OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow. Saunders and Mistry will each serve one-year terms working as special legislative assistants on the staffs of members of Congress or congressional committees.
"This year, we had a significant increase in the number of applications for our fellowship programs," said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA executive director. "Rob and Amit were standouts among a group of highly qualified applicants. We are proud to sponsor and support them as they continue their careers in science policy. Their technical backgrounds and passion for policy-making will serve the U.S. Congress well."
Saunders and Mistry will begin the program in early September in Washington, starting with an intensive orientation facilitated by AAAS for all Congressional and Executive Branch Fellows from more than two dozen scientific societies. Following orientation, the new fellows will go through an interview and selection process with offices of senators, representatives and committees on Capitol Hill. Offices will extend offers, and Saunders and Mistry will each choose the office in which they will spend their fellowship year.
The purpose of the Congressional Fellowships program is to bring technical 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, Saunders and Mistry 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 OSA, SPIE and MRS. For more information on the selection process, visit http://www.osa.org/news/congressionalfellowships/default.aspx.
About the Guenther and OSA/MRS Fellows
Robert Saunders, the Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow, is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Duke Advanced Imaging Laboratories. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from the College of William and Mary and his Ph.D. in physics from Duke University in 2006, where he built Monte Carlo models of X-ray breast imaging systems to optimize early detection of breast cancer. While at Duke, Saunders served as president of the Duke Graduate and Professional Student Council, working on student health insurance, childcare and transportation policies. Additionally, he interned with the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, where he examined the influence of science and technology on state economies.
OSA/MRS Fellow Amit Mistry completed his Ph.D. in bioengineering from Rice University in April 2006. There he studied nanotechnology, biomaterials and regenerative medicine and completed his dissertation titled "Degradation and biocompatibility of a fumarate-based/alumoxane nonocomposite for bone tissue engineering." Mistry is currently a science policy intern at Research! America, a not-for profit group that advocates for health research. Prior to his current position, he was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Engineering, where he worked on a resource for engineering educators. In addition, Mistry served as a high school science and math teacher for two years with Teach for America.
Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos and complete bios of Robert Saunders and Amit Mistry can be found at
www.osa.org/News/congressionalfellowships/ArthurHGuenther/Saunders/default.aspx and www.osa.org/News/congressionalfellowships/osamrs/
For more information, please click here
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