Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship
Optical Society of America/SPIE
Robert Saunders has always had a love of science. This led him to study physics as an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary and pursue graduate study in physics at Duke University. While at Duke, he built Monte Carlo models of x-ray breast imaging systems to optimize these systems for the early detection of breast cancer. Since achieving his Ph.D. in 2006, he has served as a post-doctoral fellow in the Duke Advanced Imaging Labs where he continues his medical imaging research. In addition to research, he has developed and taught a graduate course on public speaking for scientists and engineers to help younger scientists improve their communications skills.
At the same time, Robert has also had an interest in policy. He served as the president of the Duke Graduate and Professional Student Council, where he worked on student health insurance, childcare, and transportation policies. He later was elected to serve on Duke's Board of Trustees; there he focused on Building and Grounds issues. Outside of Duke, Robert has interned with the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, where he examined how science and technology influence economic development on a state level.
Robert is excited about the Guenther Fellowship because it marries his interests in science and policy. He looks forward to learning the inner workings of the Congress and how science is balanced against other considerations in the policy process.