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Christine Mirzayan Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
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 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellows
Fall 2004 Fellow Biosketches

Corinne J. Bassin (Fall 2004, NAS/Koshland Science Museum) has a MS in marine science from the University of California, Santa Barbara,  with a focus on physical oceanography.  She currently works at the University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory researching Puget Sound estuarine dynamics.   She enjoyed working on public programming and exhibits at the Koshland Science Museum during her fellowship .  She spends her weekends backpacking, camping, and climbing with her husband and son in and around Washington State.  If you wish to contact her, please email the Mirzayan Fellowship Program Office. (Updated 9/2010)

Emilie W. Clemmens (Fall 2004, DEPS/SSB) completed a PhD in bioengineering in December 2003 from University of Washington.  She also holds BS in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky.  Emilie's dissertation research was aimed at understanding molecular level differences between cardiac and skeletal muscles, and she engineered a system to measure in vitro muscle protein mechanics.  Emilie is also a co-founder of the Forum on Science Ethics & Policy (FOSEP), a University of Washington-associated organization dedicated to promoting dialogue in the Seattle area between scientists, policy experts, legislators, and the general public.  Today Emilie shares her passions for biology, ethics, and policy with students, serving on the faculty at Cascadia Community College in Bothell, Wash.  Contact via email.  (Updated 9/2010)

Rachel F. Fezzie (Fall 2004, DEPS/NMMB) is an advisory scientist at Strategic Analysis, Inc.  In her job, she provides scientific expertise to DARPA, helping them to develop new research programs for biodefense.  She earned her PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.  Her thesis research was on the structural biology of bacterial condensin proteins.  She also served on the graduate admissions committee and conducted a semester-length course on career planning for bioscientists.  She completed her BS in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where her work on protein folding earned her the John L. Asinari Award for outstanding undergraduate research in the field of life sciences.  While at The National Academies, Rachel branched out and worked with the National Materials Advisory Board on a project that had very little to do with biology and everything to do with nanotechnology.  She enjoys hiking, biking, and spending time with her husband and two children. (Updated 05/2006)

M. Crina Frincu (Fall 2004, PGA/COSEPUP) is currently a Health Program Specialist with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health.  Crina holds a PhD in bioorganic chemistry and materials science from Georgetown University.  Her doctoral research focused on elucidating cholesterol crystal growth mechanisms as they relate to human disease.  Crina's research has been presented at national and international conferences, allowing her brief immersions into different cultures while talking chemistry.  She has received multiple awards, including the Innovation Award at the Georgetown University Graduate Student Research Fair.  A fellowship from the French government allowed her to do research at Université de Provence at Marseilles, contributing to her MS thesis in physical organic chemistry from the University of Bucharest.  She perceived the Mirzayan Fellowship as an excellent way to explore alternate career paths before committing herself to a certain field, helping her learn more about the synergistic interaction between science, technology and government.  It also led her to make an informed decision to join the National Institutes of Health for her postdoctoral experience in the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, followed by working at the National Cancer Institute, as a contractor for the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.  When not working, Crina can be found canoeing on the waterways around Washington, sampling DC's international cuisines, or trekking through knee-deep snow, depending on the season.  (Updated 9/2010)

Benjamin Gross (Fall 2004, DEPS/NMMB) is a consultant at Strategic Business Insights based in Menlo Park, Calif.  Dr. Gross provides decision support to corporate and government clients for identifying and assessing new opportunities, technology planning, and developing business strategy.  Dr. Gross also monitors the solar energy and nanomaterials sectors for technology, business, and policy developments. Before joining SBI, Dr. Gross served as an AAAS Congressional Fellow (sponsored by MRS/OSA) in the office of Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12).  He coordinated the "Einstein's Alley" economic-development initiative, which promotes tech-business activity in central New Jersey.  He also analyzed and reported on issues related to R&D-driven small businesses, renewable energy, telecommunications and the Internet, and other science and technology policy matters.  Contact via email. (Updated 9/2010)

Sarah Hunt (Fall 2004, NAECASEE)  is interested in focusing on the relationship between technological innovation and environmentalism.  She is currently residing and working in Wageningen, Netherlands teaching Anthropology.  Contact via email. (Updated 9/2010)

Abby McDermott Kurtz (Fall 2004, DELS/WSTB) earned a double degree with a MS in hydrogeology and an MS in water resource management at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She received her B.A. in geology from Hamilton College.  Abby’s master's degree research concerned the relationship of wetland geochemistry and groundwater surface water interactions to the distribution of native plants.  For her water resources degree, she participated in a project that included designing an updated storm water management plan for the University of Wisconsin, which was later approved and adopted by the Chancellor and Provost of the University.  In addition she worked with graduate students and faculty to compile a comprehensive internet based database of Wisconsin state water policies to aid in the development of better water regulation and legislation. Her career goals include working toward better conservation, regulation, and public understanding of water resources issues.  In her free time, she enjoys playing basketball and softball as well as cooking and traveling.  Contact via email.

Karen Lai (Fall 2004, DELS/BCST) earned her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was also a National Science Foundation fellow.  She received her BS in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Before her Mirzayan Fellowship at The National Academies, she worked as a part-time chemistry instructor for a community college and volunteered for the Public Library of Science (PloS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining free and open access to scientific publications for both scientists and the general public.  Karen currently works as a patent agent and specializes in the areas of biotechnology and clean technology information.  Contact via the Mirzayan Fellowship Program Office.

Emily Lamond (Fall 2004, DBASSE/CEGIS) earned her JD and master of studies in environmental law from Vermont Law School.  Emily is a Managing Associate at the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Washington, D.C.  Emily advises international and domestic clients on matters relating to a wide array of environmental and related regulatory issues including climate change, renewable energy, hazardous materials management and remediation, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and similar state laws, land use and zoning, insurance coverage, and permitting and compliance matters.  Before joining Orrick, Emily practiced at the law firm of Lieberman & Belcher, PC in Princeton, N.J., where she worked on toxic tort litigation, hazardous site remediation projects, land use, and insurance coverage matters.  As a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academies, she worked on environmental health legal issues with a focus on housing-based health hazards and biomedical human subjects research ethics.  During law school, Emily was a student clinician at the Clinic for Environmental Law & Policy and an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.  She also completed an independent research project on childhood lead poisoning prevention policies.  Emily is admitted to practice law in New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  Contact via email.  (Updated 10/2011)

Rachel MacCoss (Fall 2004, PGA/COSEPUP) was planning on receiving a PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Cambridge.  Her topics of study include the development of innovative methodology applying polymer-supported reagents to the synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives and the natural product (-)-mitragynine.  As a scientist, Rachel is concerned with the cutting edge developments that occur in our nation and how they reflect our world wide leadership in science.  She also acknowledges that the value of research outside of the scientific world is an integral part in improving many aspects of life, including environment, health care, national security, and agriculture.  Ultimately, she anticipates her Mirzayan Fellowship opportunity will facilitate a shift from laboratory research to a career with a federal agency or disciplinary society to assist in influencing scientific policy.  After the Fellowship, Rachel accepted a post-doctoral position in organic chemistry at Princeton University. Contact via email.

Courtney (Slack) Reisler (Fall 2004, DELS/BRER) recently received her MS degree in environmental and radiological health sciences with interdisciplinary studies in science communication at Colorado State University.  For her master’s research, Courtney worked on risk assessment at Los Alamos National Laboratory on the development of a stakeholder participation process where stakeholders play a role in making future decisions about clean up activities at the facility.  Courtney's career ambition is to utilize her scientific expertise to contribute to the interface between the scientific community and the general public.  Specifically, she is interested in translating scientific information for the broader public in hopes of promoting a public understanding of science and environmental issues. Contact via email. (Updated 06/2010)

Anna Stavla (Fall 2004, PGA/STL & STEP) received her Master of Laws in International Law from the George Washington University Law School. Not only has she studied in Germany, where she received a law certificate at Georg-August University Law School, but also in Greece at Aristotle University, where she received her degree in law.  After completion of her Mirzayan Fellowship with the National Academies, she was hired as intern at the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Department of Economic and Commercial Affairs.  She has completed her post as research fellow at the Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights in Athens, and is preparing to sit the admission exams for the Greek National Judges School.  Contact via this email address or this email address.  (Updated 9/2010)

Janice Tsai (Fall 2004, NAE/CDEW) is currently the North America Privacy Manager for Microsoft, supporting the Sales and Marketing divisions for the United States and Canada.  Prior to her job at Microsoft, she was a CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellow working in the office of California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez staffing energy and privacy-related legislation.  She finished in PhD from Carnegie Mellon in engineering and public policy in August 2009.  While earning her MLIS at Rutgers, Janice was an Eagleton Fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, where she studied the practice of politics, agenda-setting, lobbying, and communications in government.  She completed her BA in mathematical methods in the social sciences (MMSS) and political science at Northwestern University.  Prior to her return to graduate school, she spent two years working at IBM, designing network architectures for web hosting systems.  While at IBM, she volunteered as a mentor at the IBM EXITE Technology Camp for girls and as an eMentor with the Chicago Public Schools.  Contact via email.  (Updated 10/2011)

Richard C. Yeh (Fall 2004, PGA/COSEPUP) is a quantitative researcher at Two Sigma Securities, a broker-dealer in New York.  Richard studied physics at Caltech (BS 1998) and Cornell (MS 2002, PhD 2007).  At the National Academies, he did background research for a study on funding for advanced research instrumentation.  From 2005 to 2006, he worked at National Security Technologies (then Lockheed Martin Nevada Technologies/Bechtel Nevada) in Los Alamos, N.M., supporting science experiments.  From 2006 to 2007, he worked at Bank of America in New York, modeling mortgage delinquency and default.  From 2007 to 2008, he worked at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities in New York, developing strategies for statistical arbitrage and algorithmic trading.  From 2009 to 2011, he worked at Surge Trading Group in New York, supporting equity market-making.  Contact via email.  (Updated 10/2011)