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Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship

The Optical Society/SPIE

Term: 2018-2019
Benjamin Isaacoff

Benjamin Isaacoff received his PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2018, where he also previously earned his Bachelor’s degrees and Master’s degree. His doctoral research in nanophotonics investigated how single fluorescent molecules are modified by a plasmonic optical antenna. This research opens the door for novel, cutting-edge microscopy techniques that can resolve the world in far greater detail than previously possible, allowing researchers to make significant advances in a broad range of fields including medicine, biology, chemistry, and materials science. This work simultaneously advances the fundamental physics of nanophotonics. Ben was a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, and additionally received a GROW grant to conduct summer research at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

During graduate school Ben also earned a graduate certificate in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from U of M’s Ford School of Public Policy. This program trained him in fundamentals of public policy, and enabled him to deeply engage with critical science and technology policy issues, including autonomous vehicles, net neutrality, and research university organization. In concert with this coursework, Ben has had many opportunities to participate in the science policy community through a  number of conferences, workshops, and hill days. Ben is also currently an associate editor at the Journal of Science Policy & Governance.

Ben is extremely excited to be the OSA and SPIE 2018-2019 Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow and to bring both his experience as a scientist and his training in public policy to bear on the important science policy challenges that our nation faces. He looks forward to taking advantage of the unique opportunities this fellowship affords to learn about and enter the world of science policy by gaining real-world experience and practical knowledge of policymaking.