PULLMAN, Wash. — A Washington State University contingent will ask congressional
leaders Sept. 22 to increase the federal investment in preparing science and technology
innovators for the 21st century.
WSU President Samuel Smith; George Hedge, research vice provost; two faculty members;
and their graduate students meet with members of Congress as part of a national lobbying effort,
“Science: Invest in the Future,” in Washington, D.C.
They will join presidents, chancellors, faculty members and students from Georgia Tech,
Harvard, Iowa State, North Carolina, Wisconsin-Madison, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Yale,
Tennessee, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Washington University of St. Louis
and other universities and colleges from across the nation.
The effort is coordinated by The Science Coalition, an alliance of 416 organizations,
institutions and individuals. Members include Nobel Laureates, businesses, non-profit health
organizations, medical groups, health care providers, scientific societies, and private and public
“The coalition’s mission is to sustain the federal government’s historic commitment to
university-based science research,” said Hedge. “Science creates jobs many times over by
producing the technical innovations that fuel economic growth. Job-creating technical
innovations flow from basic research, much of it conducted at universities.”
This research also serves as hands-on training for students who will be the next generation
of innovators, Hedge said. “Most of the basic research would not be conducted without federal
funding,” he added. At WSU, more than $60 million per year from federal sources is spent on
science and engineering research and development. Nearly all of this money is used for basic
WSU faculty members talking with members of Congress will be Amit Bandyopadhyay,
mechanical and materials engineering, and William Torruellas, physics and associated with
materials science. Both have been honored as rising stars in their professions as National
Science Foundation Early Career grant awardees. Bandyopadhyay is on WSU’s College of
Engineering and Architecture faculty, and studies rapid prototyping manufacturing technologies
and new materials for bioengineering. Torruellas, from the WSU College of Sciences, works with
electrical engineering in the optoelectronics program. His research is in optical physics and
nanostructures, the foundations of light sensing technologies.
Joining Bandyopadhyay will be one of his graduate students, Jens Darsell, and joining
Torruellas will be one of his graduate students, Dana Franz. They will be giving their perspective
about the kind of support they believe is most needed for U.S. graduate students.
Darsell is working on a WSU master’s degree in mechanical engineering. From Seabeck, he
graduated from Poulsbo’s North Kitsap High School and studied at Olympic College in
Bremerton. He earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical and materials engineering from
WSU. Franz, working on a WSU doctoral degree in physics, is from Seattle. He is a graduate of
Bellevue’s Sammamish High School and Western Washington University in Bellingham.
On Sept. 21 at the national gathering, Smith will introduce University of Washington
graduate George “Pinky” Nelson, a former astronaut and former UW associate vice provost for
research. Nelson now directs Project 2061, the American Association for the Advancement of
Science national science education reform initiative. He is the speaker at the Science Coalition
program at the MCI Center.
For further information, see WSU’s Science Coalition web page at