David Szymanski (1996)
UST Geology alumnus David Szymanski is the 2008-09 GSA-USGS Congressional Science Fellow, working for U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) in Washington, DC. Dave graduated from UST in 1996 with a BA in Geology and a minor in Criminal Justice. He then attended Michigan State University (MSU) and received an MS degree in Geological Sciences in 1999, researching pluton emplacement in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Between research and teaching assistantships, he also worked as an intern geologist in the petroleum industry, at Union Pacific Resources in Fort Worth, TX. David earned his PhD in geology from MSU in 2007 studying the origin of silicic magmas in Costa Rica, and from 2005 to 2008 served as manager of the geoanalytical laboratories in the Department of Geological Sciences at MSU. In addition to having a broad background in the earth sciences, David is also a practicing forensic scientist and holds an MS degree in forensic chemistry from MSU. Before moving to Washington, DC, he also worked as a civil and criminal forensic consultant, and is a court-qualified expert witness in the state of Michigan. His diverse scientific background and interest in science policy are linked by a desire to address societal problems by distilling scientific data for policy development and communicating scientific concepts to non-scientists. While pursuing his PhD, David worked with a research group in college science teaching to understand how non-scientists learn complex systems in geology and biology. He recently co-authored an article related to this research for the Journal of Geoscience Education. In his current position as a science policy fellow, David works on federal legislation related to energy and natural resources, ranging in focus from basic science to renewable energy R&D.