Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship
Optical Society of America/International Society of Optical Engineering
Term: September 2004- August 2005
Number of Finalists: 6
David Catarious grew up in Richboro, PA, a suburb thirty miles north of Philadelphia. By the time he reached third grade, his teacher's video camera recorded his career goal: to become a scientist. After graduating from high school in 1994, Dave headed south to attend Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, where he majored in discrete math. The pivotal time in his undergraduate career occurred during the summer and fall of his junior year when he participated in two internship programs. During the summer, Dave interned as an actuarial assistant at an insurance company in New England. That fall semester, he spent four months as a research assistant helping to develop a biomedical imaging system at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM.
Dave's experience in NM was an enlightening experience in many ways. Perhaps most important was the realization that even though he was trained as a mathematician, he could apply his knowledge to a wide variety of disciplines beyond traditional mathematics and actuarial science. The research in biomedical engineering, in particular, he found intriguing. In the fall of 1999, after receiving a M.S. in applied math and a B.S. in discrete math at Tech, Dave enrolled in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Duke University. He was attracted to Duke by the computer-aided detection and diagnosis research being performed by Dr. Carey Floyd and his Digital Imaging Research Division within the Duke Medical Center. Dave's graduate work focused on the development of a computerized system to aid mammographers in detecting malignant masses in the breast.
During his time at Duke, while on a trip to SPIE's Medical Imaging Conference, Dave read David McCullough's biography of John Adams. His life and service to our country made a deep impact. Since then, Dave has become heavily interested in our nation's science policies and the political forces that guide them - for better or worse. Due to his background in science and recent interest in policy, Dave was excited when he first read the application for the Congressional Fellowship program offered by the OSA and SPIE; he knew immediately that he wanted to be a part of the program. Dave is grateful to OSA and SPIE for being selected as a Fellow for the year 2004-2005. Serving as OSA/SPIE's representative will allow him to pursue both of his passions and he is extremely excited about the year ahead.