Advocacy & Policy

Current and Past MRS/TMS Fellows 

Scott Litzelman

The Materials Research Society and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society have selected Michele L. Bustamante, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as the 2018-2019 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow.

Inspired by material science, renewable energy and the environment, Bustamante received a dual BS degree in materials engineering and environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in May 2012, and her PhD degree in sustainability from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2016.

Early in her education, Bustamante secured a National Science Foundation (NSF) summer research internship at the FREEDM Renewable Energy Research Center, where she worked in electrical engineering. Bustamante created a circuit-equivalent model of the Center’s rooftop solar photovoltaic array. Leveraging her materials background, she secured another NSF internship at University of South Florida (USF)’s Clean Energy Research Center in 2011. There, she gained experience using thermal and mechanical processing techniques, such as sintering and ball milling, while creating eutectic salt solutions for thermal energy storage in concentrated solar power plants.

Bustamante’s graduate work focused on an underdeveloped aspect of risk relating to mining—reliance on byproduct sources of supply—since many advanced solar energy technologies are functionally dependent on scarce, byproduct materials. Her thesis work proposed novel metrics, based on features of projected supply and demand, that would enable quantitative comparisons of the effectiveness of different potential policy responses, such as implementing recycling mandates or penalizing waste to improve recovery. This contribution was recently published in Environmental Science & Technology and presented at the 2017 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit. Other aspects of her thesis are also published in high-impact journals, such as Applied Energy, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, and Journal of Materials, presented at internationally-attended conferences, including TMS and Photovoltaics Specialists Conferences, and have been cited 50 times since 2014. As a body of work, these contributions enhance the ability to both assess and address materials’ criticality that threatens to slow or disrupt the growth of clean energy technologies.

"I'm extremely honored to have been selected as one of this year's Congressional Fellows," said Bustamante. "I look forward to this opportunity to bring my voice as a sustainability scientist and materials researcher to policy discussions with our country's leaders. I hope that by serving as a conduit between the scientific community and Congress, I can do my small part to advocate for more evidence-based decision making with greater benefits for the American people and our planet. My main areas of policy interest are energy and environment, critical and strategic materials, food security, education, and equal rights protection."

Michele has accepted a placement in the office of Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) covering issues of energy, climate and the environment and will be leading the organization of the Senate Climate Change Task Force chaired by Senator Markey.


Past MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows

  • Scott Litzelman (2017-2018)
  • Aaron Dunn (2016-2017)
  • Adria Wilson (2014-2015)
  • Jeremy W. Ward (2015-2016)
  • Megan Brewster (2013-2014)
  • Andrew Steigerwald (2012-2013)
  • Jennifer Nekuda Malik (2011-2012)
  • Edward D. Herderick (2009-2010)
  • Ticora V. Jones (2008-2009)