OSA / MRS Congressional Fellowship

Materials Research Society / The Optical Society


Term: 2014-2015

James O'Dea

Jimmy O'Dea earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where, with Professor Steve Buratto, he directly imaged proton conducting pathways in polymer membranes under device-relevant conditions for the first time; proton conducting membranes are a critically important component of fuel cells. Following his Ph.D., O'Dea was a postdoctoral fellow working with Professor John Marohn in the Energy Materials Center at Cornell. At Cornell, O'Dea investigated metal-nitride films to replace the corrosion-prone carbon layer used in fuel cells to support the catalyst. O'Dea received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Puget Sound.

At Cornell, O'Dea played leading roles in efforts for the university to divest its endowment from holdings in fossil fuel companies and to adopt an open-access publishing policy. He also served on the Editorial Board of a research newsletter published by the Department of Energy and organized an energy-related seminar series for graduate students and postdocs. In graduate school, O'Dea interned for a scientific-instrument startup company, independently taught a freshman chemistry course, and designed curriculum with junior high science teachers. O'Dea is interested in public policy at the intersection of energy and health.