Photo caption: Daniel Broberg, 2019-2020 OSA/MRS Congressional Fellow and Christina C. C. Willis, Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow. Credit: OSA

The Optical Society (OSA), the Materials Research Society (MRS) and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics have announced the selection of Christina Willis and Daniel Broberg as 2019-2020 Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows.

As part of their Fellowship, Willis and Broberg will attend a comprehensive training session followed by interviews with U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and congressional committee staff. They will then select a congressional office or committee they wish to work with for a one-year term, which will begin in September 2019.

“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,” reads a statement from the OSA.

“Typically, Fellows 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.”


Danny Broberg holds a Ph.D. degree in materials science from the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. His research focuses on theoretical methods to investigate the formation of point defects in semiconductor materials for energy applications, intending to produce high-throughput tools for the Materials Project, a part of the Materials Genome Initiative of the U.S. National Science and Technology Council. He also holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Texas, Austin, U.S.A., according to an OSA statment.

Christina C. C. Willis holds a Ph.D. degree in optics from CREOL at the University of Central Florida, U.S.A. (2013). Her research focuses on high-power, solid-state and fiber-laser systems.

After graduating from Wellesley, she worked on lasers for metrological applications at the National Metrological Institute of Japan. Since completing her Ph.D. degree, Willis has worked at Vision Engineering Solutions in Orlando, Fla., U.S.A., a startup specializing in laser tracking and imaging, and at Fibertek, Inc., Herndon, Va., U.S.A., where she worked on solid-state laser development for remote sensing applications.

Willis has served on SPIE’s Engineering Science and Technology Policy Committee and participated in five Congressional Visits Days through the National Photonics Initiative. Her areas of policy interest include environmental and energy issues, STEM diversity and STEM education.

“It’s a huge honor to be selected for the Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship, and I am excited to learn as much as I can about the legislative process and how science policy is crafted,” Willis said in a statement.

“My background is in physics, optics and high-power lasers, and I look forward to expanding my skill set by working on a broad range of technical topics, especially the areas of energy and environmental policy, STEM education and STEM diversity.”

Read the full statement here.