Alumni Profiles

Chris Avery

Chris Avery

Chris Avery is currently a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy. He is working for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the Legislative Affairs Division. Previously, Chris was a 2011-12 American Chemical Society Congressional Fellow, working for Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) on energy, environment, and general science policy issues. Prior to that, Chris was a Mirzayan Fellow with the National Academies, working on science and economic policies, including intellectual property, tax codes, and standards setting. He holds a doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Michigan, where his research focused on interaction mechanisms of synthetic compounds with bilayer systems. During grad school, Chris also earned a Graduate Certificate in Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Ford School. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Hope College. Chris is particularly interested in energy issues, and is committed to a policy career in that sector.



Mitaire I. Ojaruega

Mitaire I. Ojaruega

Mitaire I. Ojaruega, AAAS-EEA Fellow, DOE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Prior to starting his fellowship at the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Mitaire was a National Science Foundation-AGEP Research Fellow in both the Physics and Nuclear Engineering Departments at the University of Michigan. There he performed research on nuclear reactions using short-lived radioactive nuclear beams and developed new techniques and technology for the detection and characterization of special nuclear materials.

Mitaire obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan (UM). Mitaire completed a graduate certificate in Science and Technology Public Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at UM. He received his bachelor's degree in Physics from the University of the District of Columbia, where he was Vice President of the undergraduate student government and President of his graduating class.


Leah Nichols

Leah Nichols

Leah Nichols is a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow assigned to Office of the Assistant Director in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. As a Fellow, Leah is working on a variety of cross-directorate and interagency teams to foster the interdisciplinary integration of the social sciences into research agendas that focus on environmental sustainability, helping to conceptualize new ways to increase the broader impacts and public use of social science knowledge, and developing new methods for mapping the intellectual terrain of research funding portfolios.

Leah's primary academic research focuses on characterizing the role of academic science in the innovation ecosystem. She is particularly interested in non-commercial mechanisms of technology transfer as a means of distributing knowledge and technology to benefit the public. Prior to coming to the NSF, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy where she taught courses on innovation policy and environmental governance.

Leah received her BS in environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her PhD in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley. She was also a 2009 Christine Mirzayan Science Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, where she worked with the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy.


Molly Maguire

Molly Maguire

Molly Maguire received her undergraduate degree at St Andrews University in Scotland, where she studied the history of science, focusing on the framing wars and politics of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial. Before beginning graduate school and the STPP program at the University of Michigan, she worked on the Clinton presidential campaign and spent some time in Washington, D.C. working for a non-profit. In graduate school she focused on biotechnology, Intellectual Property, and genetics policy, focusing in particular on values in policymaking. Following graduate school, Molly did a short internship at Research!America, a non-profit advocacy group in Washington, DC and before Lewis-Burke Associates, a science and higher education-focused lobbying firm. At Lewis-Burke, Molly worked with universities, including Tufts and USC, and biomedical research institutes, including Salk and Scripps, on their research and funding priorities. In August 2012, Molly moved to New York City to work for the Mayor's Office of Management and Budget as an Intergovernmental Relations Analyst. In her current position, Molly acts as a liaison between the city and state on transportation, the CUNY system, and criminal justice legislation.


Jakub Czyz

Jakub Czyz

As a researcher and programmer for the non-profit Merit Network, Jakub Czyz develops software for network research and management and collects large-scale data sets about network usage. He also stays on top of federal, state, and local policy developments involving topics like cybersecurity and net neutrality.

Combined with his master’s degree in computer science and engineering, Czyz says that the STPP certificate has given him immense personal satisfaction: “My specific skills and tool sets, the overall cognizance of the various actors at play in research and funding, their various agendas, and how they work together to shape the final outcome—that kind of high level understanding has been very valuable. Being aware of how my own personal values and beliefs might impact my work as a scientist and engineer has been very, very important. You hear a lot on the news today about the politicization of science, but the reality is that each one of us has values. There is no such thing as pure, objective science. The key is to be aware of your biases and try to do the best you can.”

As a member of a talented and intelligent team of computer scientists and engineers, Czyz says that his STPP background has helped give him a unique perspective. His coworkers are interested in and aware of the policy issues, gained through years of experience. He says STPP gave him an awareness of issues that he otherwise would have had to take years on the job to learn.



Andrew Schroeder

Andrew Schroeder

In his current position as Director of Research and Analysis at Direct Relief, Andrew Schroeder deals every day with intersections of science, technology and public policy. Direct Relief is a humanitarian medical assistance NGO with operations in 72 countries including the United States. They operate primarily by distributing donations from large pharmaceutical and medical supply corporations to clinics and health centers in areas of high need; this requires them to manage a complex network of stakeholders, including corporations, governments, clinics and NGOs, to guide medical resource flows in ethical and efficient directions.

“My STPP coursework played a significant role in helping me to think broadly and comparatively across national contexts, as well as deeply and critical through dense networks of stakeholder interests,” says Schroeder.

In order to profile need and demand for medical assistance, he works extensively with academic geographers and GIS professionals to develop rich geographic visualization and analysis tools for humanitarian programs. “GIS helps us to manage spatial data, understand the patterns which frame our networks and communicate those patterns in compelling form. Likewise, I have the ability, through involvement in the humanitarian response to major disasters such as the earthquake which struck Haiti this January, to contribute to policy debates about the roles of medical goods, international supply chains, information technologies and non-profit organizations in assisting the most vulnerable to prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophe.”