Newswise — WARRENDALE, PA – [June 2020] – The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) have selected Megan Malara, The Ohio State University, as the 2020-2021 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Malara will serve a one-year term working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee.
"I am so grateful to receive the 2020-2021 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship,” Malara said. “During the fellowship year, I look forward to gaining further insight into the role of scientists in policy, and actively engaging in the legislative process. As we find our way through the current health crisis, I aim to lend my technical background in biology and biomaterials to meet the legislative challenges to come.“
As part of her Fellowship, Malara will attend a comprehensive science policy and communication training and orientation session facilitated by the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Upon training completion, she will interview with Senate, House of Representatives and congressional committee staff on Capitol Hill and will then select which congressional office or committee she wishes to serve for her fellowship year.
The Congressional Fellowship’s program mission is to bring technical and scientific 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 her strengths in communication, research, and problem-solving to help legislators apply scientific evidence in support of socially responsible policies, Malara 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 a Fellow is selected by committees comprised of volunteer members from MRS and TMS. For more information on the selection process, visit the MRS website.
About Megan Malara
Megan Malara earned her B.S. (2014) and Ph.D. (2020) degrees in materials science and engineering from The Ohio State University. She began her specialization in biomaterials with research pertaining to nanoscale polymeric fibers as a platform to sort cancer cells and as a 3D scaffolding for small diameter blood vessels. Malara conducted her graduate research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Her doctoral research focused on developing the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) of cultured skin grafts for the treatment of large total body surface area burns. Using techniques such as photolithography and laser ablation to pattern scaffold surfaces to mimic the native DEJ, Malara conducted in vitro analyses of cell behavior to patterning and in vivo animal studies to translate this technology towards clinical application.
Malara’s interest in science policy began while attending Material Advantage Congressional Visit Days where she connected with the offices of elected officials and offered her experience as a scientist. She continued her interest in policy as a community team leader for a political campaign where she trained and organized volunteers to engage with the public on policy-related issues. Influenced by her Rust Belt upbringing, Malara has policy interests in translating research to manufacturing jobs, increasing opportunities for education, and improving public confidence in science.
Photo of Megan Malara available upon request at mrs.org/contact/press.