OSA/MRS Congressional Fellowship

Materials Research Society/The Optical Society


Term: 2017-2018
Sarah Vorpahl


Sarah Vorpahl will graduate with her Ph.D. from University of Washington this summer where she studies advanced energy materials in the lab of Professor David Ginger. Her research focuses on using novel electrical scanning probe microscopy to characterize the functional properties of next generation solar cell materials. Sarah was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow as well as a fellow of the Clean Energy Institute at UW where she worked across Washington State to communicate renewable energy research to both policy makers and the public. Her doctoral work also includes a Ph.D. Concentration in Public Policy and Management from the Evans School at UW, exploring topics such as innovation and commercialization of new materials for energy. Before coming to Seattle, Sarah received a B.A. in Modern Literary Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz ('04) and a B.S. in Chemistry from Northeastern Illinois University ('11).

Outside of the lab, Sarah has been dedicated to increasing representation of women and minoritized students in STEM. In her first year of graduate school she founded the student group Women in Chemical Sciences at UW to educate and empower women in STEM fields. Sarah has also spent time working with the Washington State Department of Commerce, helping to translate the technical achievements of innovative clean energy policy to a broader audience. Sarah is excited to better understand how scientists can have a meaningful impact on policy as the MRS/OSA Science and Engineering Congressional Fellow