Congressional Visits Day

The Material Advantage Congressional Visits Day event gives US-based Material Advantage Student Members an exciting opportunity to visit with legislators and congressional staff from their own states. The goal of the event is to educate Congress about the importance of research in materials science, engineering and manufacturing, and the need to increase federal R&D funding. Don’t miss this vital opportunity for you, the next generation of materials science and technology leaders, to emphasize the long-term importance of science, engineering, and technology through meetings with congressional decision makers.

2025 Congressional Visits Day sign ups will occur in February.  Please check back to register.

Please note:

  • Applications will be accepted only from students who reside in, or are attending schools in the United States.
  • CVD opportunities are best suited for U.S. citizens and permanent residents; however, international students who are attending schools in the United States can participate if space is available.
  • Applicants must be a member of the Material Advantage student program to participate. Become a member!
  • A maximum of 5 students from any one university will be considered for a travel grant and will be eligible to attend the CVD event(s).
  • Registrations will be processed on an individual first come, first served basis based upon the criteria noted above.

Groups, whether affiliated by school or location, have been found to be the most successful in working together to schedule meetings and support each other’s efforts towards meeting with representatives.

The Material Advantage Student Program offers a limited number of travel grants to student registrants to help offset costs to Congressional Visits Day. The amount of travel grant funds will be determined once all applications are received. Each grant will be sent after the event upon verification that the student was in attendance. Faculty advisors are not eligible for travel assistance.

If you have questions about the event, contact Lori Houghton at, the ACerS liaison to the Material Advantage student program. 

What to expect

  • Set aside the dates noted below to be able to fully participate in this year’s event. You will also need to devote additional time to scheduling and preparing for your virtual visits.
  • Review all items in the “Material Advantage CVD Toolkit”. These documents will help to guide you through the details of this process.
  • Be prepared to start the process of requesting Congressional appointments. Identify the individuals within your group (university and/or locale) who will begin requesting appointments. If there are no others within your university/locale, you will need to work on requesting appointments.
  • Attend mandatory webinar training session(s). On the webinar, CVD participants will be given preparation materials that have an emphasis on funding for the materials science and engineering field. The training will also include general tips on organizing your visits, rules for congressional meetings, and how Congress works. In addition to the prep materials, participants will be required to let the facilitators know who they have contacted and gotten a response from, what their congressional schedule is so far, and who is still pending.
  • Update the Meeting Scheduling and Inter-state Collaboration worksheet. Make sure to note: your home state “State of Constituent”, your District, and your university’s tab with any scheduled appointments/current status of appointment setting.

2024 CVD Schedule

Wednesday, March 20, 20244 PM – 5PM EasternMandatory Training Session (webinar)
Additional Training SessionTBDMandatory Training Session (webinar)
Tuesday, April 9, 20244 PM – 7 PMOpening Reception with guest speakers and group practice sessions
Wednesday, April 10, 2024All DayCongressional Visits

*The 2024 CVD event is being held in person in Washington, D.C. All travel and hotel reservations must be made on your own.

2024 CVD Opening Reception

We are excited to hear from the following speakers at this year’s opening reception!

Sean Gallagher joined AAAS as a Senior Government Relations Officer in March 2015. He handles a wide range of policy issues and focuses on engaging and encouraging scientists to demonstrate their value to their peers, the media and policy makers. He spearheads grassroots efforts and serves as a liaison to congress and the executive branch. 

Prior to joining AAAS Sean spent over 7 years on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide to five Members of Congress, helping represent districts in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, California, and most recently was a policy advisor to Representative Rush Holt from central New Jersey. Sean specialized in science and technology issues, and also has experience in military and veterans affairs as well health care reform.  Sean has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Villanova University. 

Sophia Chan, Ph.D. is the 2023-2024 APS/AAAS Congressional Fellow, serving under Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) and covering transportation, infrastructure, water, and science policy.  Last year, she was a California Council on Science and Technology Policy Fellow, where she led legislation analysis on battery recycling, solar panel recycling, and “forever chemical” bans for CalEPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.  During her doctoral career at Columbia University and Brookhaven National Lab, she studied ways to improve carbon capture membranes through polymer physics, nanotechnology, and x-ray scattering. She completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and previously interned six times with Tesla Motors on their Cell Quality and Gigafactory teams.  Sophia is interested in public transportation, industrial decarbonization, waste management, and energy technology deployment. In her free time, Sophia practices Taekwondo, bakes, and does laundry.

Angela Cleri is a AAAS Congressional Science Fellow sponsored by the American Chemical Society, with a portfolio covering labor, trade, manufacturing, and economic development. She received her PhD in materials science and engineering at Penn State University. Her dissertation focused on cadmium oxide thin film synthesis for nanophotonic applications in the infrared spectral range. Before graduate school, Angela received her B.S. from the University of Florida, also in materials science and engineering.

Marie Fiori (she/her/hers) serves as the MRS/Optica AAAS Congressional Fellow in the office of Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06), where she handles energy, environment, and climate policy. She served as a 2022-2023 Energy Jobs Fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Policy. There, she advanced efforts to create good jobs that are accessible to all workers and coordinated labor engagement at the Department. Marie received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her graduate research examined materials similar to the active layers of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) devices and organic solar cells. 

Material Advantage CVD Toolkit

CVD welcome event location and how to get around Washington D.C.:

The welcome event will be held at The Credit Union House, located at 403 C Street NE, Washington DC 20002.

The Metro is a very convenient way to get around DC.   

Know where you are going with this handy map of Capitol Hill.

Reference materials