Joyce Yang

2008-09 Energy, Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources (EEANR) Fellow; Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Biomass Programs

Joyce Yang, who has a PhD in genetics and microbiology from MIT, has a passion for biofuels. She is thrilled about her placement in the Office of Biomass Programs at Department of Energy (DOE). “I had wanted to work in renewable energy and contribute to the field of biofuels since graduate school,” she says. When she heard about the S&T Policy Fellowships from a former AAAS Fellow, she knew it would be a great opportunity. “It has been exactly what I hoped for.” At DOE, Joyce has worked on the use of algae as a viable alternative fuel source. “I’m in a program office and at this level I am very close to the science,” she says. “I collect data and present recommendations to management on how to affect technological barriers.” Joyce also served as co-chair for the private-public partnership section of a workshop on the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap, which brought together experts from industry and major fuel producers. “The idea is to put together a roadmap of technological barriers,” she says. “These include challenges like growing algae on a very large scale or developing the workforce that will be needed to produce these biofuels.”

Joyce renewed her fellowship for a second year, and although she is uncertain about her future, she is confident that the her experience at DOE has taken her in a new direction. “A lot of us who try a AAAS Fellowship have interests outside of academia and are open to a non-traditional route,” says Joyce. “I’ve had fun doing research, but didn’t feel I was as influential as I could be. Using science to inform policy is very gratifying.”