Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship
Optical Society of America/International Society of Optical Engineering
Term: September 2006 - August 2007
Number of Finalists: 3
Eleanore "Ellie" Edson holds a B.S. in biology from Stanford University and earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2006, where her research focused on how small molecules shape the strength and length of visual signals traveling from the eye to the brain. During her graduate career, Ellie's research projects involved heavy reliance on both electron and confocal microscopy as tools for understanding the location of molecules involved in regulation of visual information.
While at Harvard, Ellie frequently participated in a graduate student organization that designed and delivered lectures on science to the general public. She has given science talks for the public in a number of locations in the Boston area, including the Boston Museum of Science. As a graduate student, she taught humanities undergraduates about emerging biotechnology and volunteered as a science fair judge. From her experiences as a lecturer and teacher, Ellie developed a passion for applying her research training and broad scientific interests toward dialogues about the impact of scientific research on society.
Ellie's interest in communicating scientific principles and research to the public brought her to Washington, D.C. to spend the winter and spring of 2006 at the National Academies as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow. As a Mirzayan fellow, she worked with the staff of the Board on Health Sciences Policy to develop Institute of Medicine reports, including the recently published Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation and Reusability of Facemask During an Influenza Pandemic. During this fellowship, Ellie also attended a number of congressional hearings on science and technology issues, which led to her deep interest in witnessing the legislative process firsthand.
Ellie is grateful for the opportunity to represent OSA and SPIE as the 2006-2007 Congressional fellow. She looks forward to participating in the development of science and technology policy and learning more about the intersection of scientific research, policy and politics.