Adria Wilson earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry, developing model nanoparticle catalysts with applications for renewable energy technologies. After graduation she was selected as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow and worked in a U.S. Senator’s office on public policy issues related to renewable energy and the environment. She then obtained a fellowship through the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education working on fuel cell technologies in the Department of Energy (DOE). She is now a Technology Manager for DOE, where she develops programs and manages applied research and development projects that advance fuel cell technologies. The primary goal behind her education and career path has been to increase the availability and accessibility of renewable energy technologies.
What career plans did you have in mind at the beginning of graduate school, and did these change during your time at Duke?
When I began graduate school, I had just earned my bachelor’s degree from Drexel University in Chemistry with a minor in Political Science. From that experience I had gained a strong sense of the implications science and policy could have on one another, and I ultimately wanted to advance renewable energy technologies to mitigate climate change. During my first few years at Duke, I spent time talking to people to find out if there was a certificate program related to technologies and policy that I could pursue. As my interest in science policy became known, a fifth-year graduate student told me about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy fellowship program for Ph.D. scientists, and, after learning more about that the program, I set out to make myself the best candidate for this fellowship during graduate school. My career plans in graduate school were not extremely specific, but I had a very powerful and unwavering drive to advance and promote renewable energy technologies using my scientific expertise.
Read more about Adria, including how her career plans at Duke changed, and how her Duke education helped her prepare for her current position, in her Alumni Profile, written by Ecology Ph.D. student Sarah Loftus.