Valerie Thomas visited with U.S. congressional members from Georgia April 24-25, advocating for federal funding for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) research and energy research.
Thomas, who is associate professor in the School of Public Policy and is the Anderson Interface Associate Professor of Natural Systems Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, attended the 2012 Congressional Visits Day, along with Georgia Tech's director of federal relations, Robert Knotts.
Thomas met with Representative John Lewis and with staff for Representative Hank Johnson and Senator Saxby Chambliss. Thomas emphasized the value of research being done at Georgia Tech, as well as, the importance of federal research funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy that supports the development of solutions for challenges in energy and creating a more sustainable way of life. She also highlighted her own research on energy options in the southeast.
“Federal support of research is important, both for fundamental research that can provide the basis for future advances, and for progress on national priorities including defense and energy,” said Thomas. She noted the importance of such congressional visits if we are to provide long-term understanding and relationship-building between researchers and policy-makers.