Congressional Science Fellowship
Anna K. Mebust
GSA is pleased to announce the selection of Anna K. Mebust as the 2013–2014 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow. Mebust received a B.A. from Pomona College in 2008, majoring in both chemistry and mathematics. Her research at Pomona investigated the development of thin film gas microsensors to be used in air-quality monitoring. As part of this project, she was awarded a summer fellowship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to work on the development of the Electronic Nose (ENose), a sensor deployed on the International Space Station to monitor onboard air quality. Also during her time at Pomona, Mebust was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi.
Mebust earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in August 2013. Her dissertation research employed remote sensing measurements to identify and quantify sources of variability in emissions of pollutants from wildfires. This variability has important implications for air quality and climate but has previously proved difficult to study. Mebust developed a novel technique using satellite data to study these emissions, and she earned a prestigious graduate fellowship from the Department of Energy Office of Science in 2010 for this work. Mebust’s research in atmospheric chemistry has ties to diverse fields like biogeoscience, meteorology, and climate, giving her the broad earth-science background required for this fellowship.
Mebust has extensive leadership and communication experience both inside and outside of academia. She taught a variety of classes as both an undergraduate and graduate student. At Pomona, Mebust captained the ultimate Frisbee team and received a leadership award from the mathematics department. While at Berkeley, she held numerous teaching and leadership positions as part of the ballroom dance team. As a communicator, Mebust is especially talented at adjusting her language to convey important concepts at appropriate levels—her work teaching chemistry, mathematics, ultimate, and dance has primarily been aimed at beginners, and she also designed a new website for her research group at Berkeley, targeted toward early-career scientists. These skills will serve her well in the coming year as she articulates scientific concepts to legislators, constituents, and other non-scientists. Mebust is extremely honored to be selected as the 2013–2014 GSA-USGS Congresional Science Fellow and is very much looking forward to using her scientific background and communication skills to make a concrete difference in public policy and to improve lines of communication between policy makers and researchers.