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ACS Welcomes Its Congressional And Science Policy Fellows

by Linda Wang
November 26, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 48

Credit: National Academies
Credit: National Academies

The American Chemical Society has welcomed its 2012–13 congressional and science policy fellows to Washington, D.C. During their time in the capital, the fellows will learn about the policy process and the role that science plays in government decisions.

Credit: Hartford Art School
Credit: Hartford Art School
Credit: Courtesy of Kate Weber
Credit: Courtesy of Kate Weber

Victoria Gunderson is working in the office of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), where she will concentrate on energy issues and assist with the senator’s policy portfolio related to the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University in 2011.

“I am hoping to see inside the black box that is decision making on Capitol Hill and better understand how data, facts, opinions, and politics play together to affect those decisions,” Gunderson says. “I am specifically looking forward to digging deeper into energy-related issues and providing technical expertise that may better inform any decisions that impact our nation.”

Laura Pence is working in the office of Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on energy, environment, and natural resources management issues. Pence is a chemistry professor at the University of Hartford. She earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Michigan State University in 1992.

“This fellowship is allowing me to learn how the government works from the inside, and I have the chance to contribute my own expertise and perspective to make sure that well-informed decisions can be made,” she says. “By taking on new challenges and leaping out of my well-established comfort zone, I am growing enormously in my skills and knowledge.”

Katherine Weber is working in the ACS Office of Public Affairs on policy related to science education and its importance for U.S. international competitiveness in science and technology. She earned a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Cambridge earlier this year.

“I view this as a wonderful opportunity to learn how policy is crafted and how, as a scientist, I can bring my expertise and analytical skills to bear in the policy-making process,” she says. “The fellowship, by immersing me in the policy world, will allow me to explore my career options and begin to forge a path.”

The fellows will complete their terms in August 2013, with the option to extend to a second year. The deadline for applications for the 2013–14 fellowships is Dec. 31. For more information, visit

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