Congressional Visits Day 2018 Recap

2018 Material Advantage CVD attendees


The Material Advantage Student Program’s Congressional Visits Day (CVD) was held on April 17 and 18, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The CVD is an annual event that gives students an opportunity to visit Washington to educate Congressional decision makers about the importance of funding for basic science, engineering and technology.



Credit: Christopher Walker

The CVD experience began with an opening reception on April 17, featuring informative and entertaining talks by: Joel Widder, Co-Founder and Partner, Federal Science Partners; Russell Armstrong, Assistant Vice-President, Bose Washington Partners; Dr. Lily Nguyen, former CVD attendee and current Washingtonian; and Dr. Scott Litzelman, TMS/MRS Congressional Science & Engineering Fellow. After the talks concluded, the students were provided with a chance to do some role-play in advance of their appointments on the following day.

Students worked hard to schedule congressional visits with legislators and staffers on April 18. Some attendees also registered in advance for and attended constituent coffee events with their legislators, who hold the coffee events in order to stay in touch with their constituents and to get feedback on the work they are doing.

Stargazing at the National Air and Space Museum


As our last hurrah for this year’s event, the Washington D.C. Chapter of ASM International hosted a dinner which gave the students an opportunity to network and share their CVD experiences. Additionally, the group attended a lecture at the National Air and Space Museum where attendees were able to view the latest Hubble images a full day before they were released to the general public!  


The Material Advantage CVD event was well-attended this year with a total of 38 students and faculty from the following universities:

Case Western Reserve University
Colorado School of Mines
Iowa State University
Michigan Technological University
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Ohio State University
Purdue University
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Special thanks to Dr. David Bahr, head and professor of materials engineering at Purdue University, and Dr. Iver Anderson, senior metallurgist at Ames Laboratory and adjunct professor in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Iowa State University, for conducting the training on how to visit with legislators and for their assistance over the years in helping to coordinate CVD. Dr. Bahr and Dr. Anderson both serve on the Material Advantage Committee, an advisory committee that provides recommendations and feedback about the program to the four partnering organization’s leadership.

If you are a student and did not get a chance to participate this year, make sure that you plan to register for the 2019 event! Or if you are a professor/faculty advisor, make sure to plan on gathering a group together from your university. Visit the Material Advantage website for future updates: It is an opportunity that you won’t want to miss!