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William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellows

[Plus Former AGI Congressional Fellows]

2013-2014 AGI Fisher Fellow Kristen Mitchell

Kristen MitchellThe 2013-2014 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellow is Kristen Mitchell. Mitchell graduated with her B.S. in Marine Chemistry from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2005. After graduation, Mitchell moved to Europe for a Fulbright Student Fellowship where she studied microbial sulfate reduction at the University of Southern Denmark. During the course of her Ph.D., Mitchell studied at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Georgia Institute of Technology, and finally the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. She successfully defended her Ph.D. on the marine biogeochemical cycling of selenium isotopes at Utrecht University in 2012. Currently, Mitchell is a research associate in the Ecohydrology Research Group at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on assessing the utility of remote sensing to identify plastic debris in the Great Lakes and in oceans. Mitchell is looking forward to taking science out of the laboratory and working together with policy makers.

2012-2013 AGI Fisher Fellow Anna Henderson

Anna HendersonThe 2012-2013 William L. Fisher Congressional Geosciences Fellow is Anna Henderson. She is working on energy policy in the office of Senator Al Franken. Anna recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship using molecular fossils and compound specific isotopes to investigate the emergence of grassland ecosystems in Earth history.  In 2010 she completed a PhD in Geology from University of Minnesota focused on water resources and changes in seasonality of precipitation over the last 10,000 years in North America.  Anna has an undergraduate degree in Geology-Biology from Brown University.

2011-2012 AGI Fisher Fellow Aisha Morris

Aisha MorrisThe 2011-2012 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellow is Aisha Morris who worked in the office of Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey. Aisha received her Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from Duke University and her Masters in Marine Geology and Geophysics from the University of Hawaii. She completed her Doctoral degree in Planetary Geology at the University of Hawaii under the tutelage of Peter Mouginis-Mark. The focus of her doctoral degree was “Topographic and geomorphologic studies of volcanic and impact-related landforms on Earth and Mars”. She recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) at Syracuse University. Aisha served as an instructor for undergraduate geology courses and for the Research Scholars High School STEP program. Dedicated to science education, Aisha also worked with Girls Eyes Only (GEO), a science enrichment program and Girls Get It!, a science camp; both for middle school girls in the Syracuse area.

2010-2011 AGI Fisher Fellow Ursula Rick

The 2010-2011 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellow is Ursula Rick. Rick worked in the office of Senator Mark Udall of Colorado. Previously, Rick was a professional research associate at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder. She received her Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado, her Masters in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College and her Bachelor degree in Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Her doctoral dissertation focused on surface water runoff from the Greenland ice sheet. She continues to do fieldwork in Greenland and Antarctica and recently co-organized a Forum on Science Ethics and Policy at the University of Colorado. She is now the Regulatory Affairs Analyst at Western Energy Alliance.

2009-2010 AGI Fisher Fellow Katie Matthews

The 2009-2010 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellow is Kathryn "Katie" Matthews. She worked in the office of Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, on nuclear issues. She was a postdoctoral geochemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Nuclear and Radiochemistry Group investigating the migration of uranium and its daughter products at a site analogous to the proposed radiological waste repository at Yucca Mountain. She also participated in a nuclear forensics program, measuring isotopic ratios of interest in air and soil samples. She received her Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Her dissertation focused on deciphering marine and coral biogeochemistry to understand past climatic conditions. She received her Masters in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania - examining the deposition of pesticides in Arctic ice cores. Her Bachelor degree in Geological Sciences is from Tufts University in Massachusetts. After her Congressional Science Fellowship, Matthews served as a Marine Science Officer at the U.S. State Department on a AAAS Fellowship. She now is Vice President of Policy Development and Outreach at the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

2008-2009 AGI Fisher Fellow Gabrielle Dreyfus

gabrielle dreyfus photograph The 2008-2009 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellow is Gabrielle Dreyfus. She worked in the office of Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota, on energy issues. Gabrielle received her doctoral degree in Geosciences from Princeton University and the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris France. Her dissertation work involved reconstructing climate records and improving ice core chronology using geochemical information from air trapped in Antarctic ice over the past 800,000 years. Gabrielle received her Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Planetary Sciences with highest honors from Harvard University in 2001, a Diploma of Extended Studies, Oceanography, Meteorology, and Environment with honors from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris France in 2003 and a Masters degree in Geosciences from Princeton University in 2005. After her Congressional Science Fellowship, Dreyfus served as a AAAS Fellow in the Office of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Atmosphere and Oceans and Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Jane Lubchenco. In 2011, she began a Climate Change Policy and Technology Fellowship at the Department of Energy.

Gabrielle has written the following article for Earth Magazine:
"Learning to Speak to Your Representatives," April 2009

2007-2008 AGI Fisher Fellow Bryan K. Mignone

Bryan Mignone was selected to be the 2007-2008 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellow. He worked as a professional staff member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, mainly in the area of climate change.

Prior to his selection, Bryan was a MacArthur Science and Technology Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he launched and maintained an active, interdisciplinary research program at the intersection of climate, energy and technology policy. The author of numerous academic articles and op-eds, he has also contributed to several education and policy outreach activities. Bryan was awarded a Ph.D. in geosciences from Princeton University, a graduate certificate in science, technology and environmental policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and an A.B. in physics and philosophy from Cornell University. After the fellowship, Bryan returned to the Brookings Institution as Director of Research for their Energy Security Initiative.

Mignone and the other 2007-2008 geoscience fellows are profiled in the December 2007 issue of Geotimes.

Bryan has written the following articles for Earth Magazine:

Bryan has written the following articles for Geotimes:

2006-2007 AGI Fellow Allyson K. Anderson

Allyson Anderson was selected to be the 2006-2007 American Geological Institute Congressional Science Fellow. She worked for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on many issues, including carbon sequestration and geothermal energy resources.

Before coming to DC, Allyson was a petrophysicist in the Formation Evaluation Core Group of ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas and a researcher at the Kansas Geological Survey. She earned a Master's degree in Geology from the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in 2000. She is the Past-President of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) and the Vice-Chair, Professional Women in the Geoscience Professions Ad Hoc Committee of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). Allyson is enthusiastic about continuing her volunteer work on public outreach, education and career opportunities in the geosciences, while meeting the challenges of public policy development in Washington DC.

Allyson worked for five years as Professional Staff for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and in 2012 joined the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Director.

Anderson and the other 2006-2007 geoscience fellows are profiled in the December 2006 issue of Geotimes.

Allyson has written the following articles for Geotimes:

2005-2006 AGI Fellow Steve Quane

Dr. Steven Quane, a volcanologist from Colorado, was selected to be the 2005-2006 American Geological Institute Congressional Science Fellow. He worked as a legislative aide to Representative Tom Udall, a Democrat representing the third district of New Mexico. He helped the congressman initiate the Peak Oil Caucus in the House of Representatives.

Steve completed his PhD in volcanology in 2004 from the University of British Columbia and earned a Master's degree from the University of Hawaii in 1999. He returned to Colorado to teach at Colorado College and now teaches geology at Quest University in Squamish.

Quane and the other 2005-2006 geoscience fellows are profiled in the December 2005 isssue of Geotimes. Steve has written the following articles for Geotimes:

2004-2005 AGI Fellow Katie Donnelly

Dr. Kathleen Donnelly, the 2004-05 American Geological Institute Congressional Science Fellow, worked for Rep. Edward J. Markey. Markey is a Democrat serving the seventh district of Massachusetts.

Katie completed her Ph.D. in Geology at Columbia University in 2002 and she graduated with honors from the Master of Science program at the University of Otago in 1997. Donnelly moved to Boston after the fellowship where she is working at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on their new Science and Technology Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to facilitate discussion of important and/or controversial issues in science policy.

Donnelly and the other 2004-2005 geoscience fellows are profiled in the December 2004 isssue of Geotimes. Katie has written the following articles for Geotimes:

2003-2004 AGI Fellow Eloise Kendy

Before coming to Washington, AGI's 2003-04 congressional fellow ran her own hydrologic consulting firm in Helena, Montana, where she previously worked as a hydrologist for over a decade in the private sector and for the U.S. Geological Survey. Having received a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master's degree in hydrogeology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Kendy returned to school in 1999 to pursue a doctorate in biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University, which she received in 2002. Reflecting Kendy's long-standing policy interest, her doctoral work focused on the influence of agricultural, economic and environmental policies on ground-water depletion in the North China Plain. Kendy is now an Environmental Flows Specialist with The Nature Conservancy.

Following an orientation program run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which serves as an umbrella for the congressional science and engineering fellowships, Kendy chose to work with Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).

Kendy and the other 2003-2004 geoscience fellows are profiled in the December 2003 isssue of Geotimes. She has written the following columns in Geotimes:

2002-2003 AGI Fellow Larry Kennedy

Larry Kennedy came to Capitol Hill from Reno, where he was pursuing a graduate degree in hydrology at the University of Nevada after a 20-year career in the mining industry. He also holds a doctorate in geochemistry from the University of Western Ontario. Kennedy chose to work for his home-state senator, Harry Reid (D), who is the assistant minority leader in the 108th Congress. Kennedy is working on mining and other resource and public-land issues.

Larry Kennedy and the other 2002-2003 geoscience fellows are profiled in the December 2002 isssue of Geotimes. In addition, he wrote the following columns in Geotimes:

2001-2002 AGI Fellow David Curtiss

David Curtiss chose to work for Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. (R-OK), who chaired the House Republican Conference, an information resource for all Republican representatives on a variety of issues. Curtiss focused on energy and international relations. Before taking the fellowship, Curtiss was manager of program development and a research scientist at the Energy and Geoscience Institute (EGI) of the University of Utah. He holds a master's degree in Earth Resource Management from the University of South Carolina. After the fellowship, Curtiss returned to EGI for many years. After living back in the DC area as the Director of the Geoscience and Energy Office of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), David now serves as Executive Director of AAPG in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

David Curtiss wrote the following columns in Geotimes:

2000-2001 AGI Fellow Katy Makeig

Katy Makeig worked for Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), one of only two physicists in the House and the first former science fellow to be elected to Congress. Makeig, who ran her own environmental consulting business before taking the fellowship, worked on energy, science, and international issues. She holds a master's degree in geology from University of Minnesota. After the fellowship, Makeig returned to her consulting firm, Waste Science Inc..

Katy Makeig wrote the following columns in Geotimes:

1999-2000 AGI Fellow Eileen McLellan

Eileen McLellan worked for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. McLellan, who came to the fellowship as a geoscience professor at the University of Maryland, worked on several environmental issues, particularly salmon restoration. She holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (United Kingdom). McLellan is currently Riverkeeper for the Chester River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Dr. Eileen McLellan wrote the following columns in Geotimes:

1998-1999 AGI Fellow David Wunsch

David Wunsch spent his year on Capitol Hill working for the House Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, chaired by Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY). During the fellowship, Wunsch worked on a range of issues including abandoned mine lands reclamation. Wunsch came to the fellowship from the Kentucky Geological Survey, where he was a senior hydrologist and served as an adjunct professor of geology at the University of Kentucky. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. Wunsch became the New Hampshire State Geologist in 2000 and transitioned to the Director of Science and Technology at the National Ground Water Association in 2010. In November 2011, Wunsch became the Director and State Geologist of the Delaware Geological Survey.

Dr. David Wunsch wrote the following columns in Geotimes:

Other Information

For those seeking additional information and background on the AGI Congressional Science Fellowship, a more detailed prospectus is available on this site.

An April 2001 article by Maeve Boland provides information on what some geoscience congressional fellows have done after their experiences in Washington.

Also available is the November 1997 Geotimes column on the fellowship entitled Congressional Fellows: Scientists in a Strange Land.

A book of essays by former fellows about their experience, entitled From the Lab to the Hill, is now available in PDF format on the AAAS website.

Please send any comments or problems with this site to AGI Geoscience Policy at

Posted May 28, 2003; Last update August 22, 2012.


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