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Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship

The Optical Society / SPIE


Term: 2010-2011
Marcius Extavour

Marcius began his science education with a BASc. in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, completing thesis research on new materials for improving solar cell efficiency. As an undergraduate, he also took advantage of an extended industrial research opportunity at Nortel Networks Inc. in Ottawa, Canada, where he designed, fabricated and evaluated new lasers for optical telecommunications. This experience solidified his passion for research science; returning to Toronto, Marcius carried out doctoral work in physics in the Quantum Optics cluster at the University of Toronto. His research focused on experiments exploring the fundamental, quantum mechanical dynamics of atomic gases; his experiments used laser light and magnetic fields to trap individual atoms and to super-cool them down to temperatures a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero.

After completing his doctoral work in 2009, Marcius transitioned into the electricity sector. Prior to accepting the 2010-2011 Guenther Fellowship, he worked as a Quantitative Risk Analyst at Ontario Power Generation Inc., where he tackled the unique challenges of management and decision-making at a public utility within one of North America's largest power networks. In this role he worked with engineers, accountants, and risk experts to model the leading operational, financial and strategic risks to the company. Among these risks is the varied and uncertain regulatory landscape governing greenhouse gas emissions for electricity generation across North America. Marcius credits this experience in particular with helping him to develop an understanding of the regional and international dynamics of science-related policy and regulation across North America, and with sharpening his interest in science-informed public policy.  He has pursued this interest as an organizer of the 2010 Canadian Science Policy Conference, which is aimed at creating a dialogue between academics, elected officials, and policy makers on national and international science and technology policy.

Marcius is also keenly interested in bringing the ideas of science out of the laboratory and into the public sphere. He has worked with children and youth leading hands-on science and engineering workshops, has served as a lecturer and teacher for undergraduate physics and engineering courses, has mentored undergraduates interested in pursuing research science, and is involved with the Grown Up Science Fair and Science Rendez-Vous public science outreach events in Toronto.

Marcius was excited to learn about the OSA and SPIE Congressional Fellowship Program, and considers it a privilege to have been selected to represent the OSA and SPIE as the 2010-2011 Guenther Fellow.  He hopes to combine his love of science, public outreach, and policy as a Fellow, and looks forward to better understanding the challenges and opportunities for public advocacy of science within the legislative process.