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August 11, 2020

Danielle Chou Selected for AAAS Science and Technology Fellowship at Department of Energy

Image of Danielle Chou

Danielle Chou, a Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory staff member since 2006, will start a sabbatical for a yearlong AAAS Fellowship at the Department of Energy this fall.

Credit: Danielle Chou

Image of Danielle Chou hiking Mt. Rainier

Danielle Chou hikes Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, in 2019. Chou will be embark on another adventure as she begins her AAAS Fellowship with the Department of Energy this fall.

Credit: Danielle Chou

Danielle Chou, a project manager in the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL) Air and Missile Defense Sector recently accepted a one-year AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship to work with the Department of Energy in the Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Group of the Vehicle Technologies Office in Washington, D.C.

The fellowship provides opportunities for “outstanding” scientists and engineers to learn about policymaking while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills to the federal policymaking process.

“I’ve been interested in issues associated with sustainability and clean energy for several years now, so this fellowship offers an entry point to this industry while allowing me to continue honing my skills,” said Chou, who manages the Standard Missile-3 Block IA/IB project. “Within APL, I’ve advocated that our Department of Defense sponsors care about strategic-resource management [like water] and that this is work APL should pursue. The Lab seems to recognize it has a lot to contribute in this realm, ranging from disaster-resilient communications to basic materials research. Hopefully, I will learn and bring a different perspective back to the Lab.”

“We are pleased to have Danielle engage this community and bring the strong technical expertise she has developed through her roles contributing to our Air and Missile Defense mission,” said AMD Mission Area Executive Vishal Giare. “I am excited about the broader perspectives and insights she will gain as a leader as a result of her initiative to explore this opportunity.”

After graduating from MIT with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, Chou joined the Lab in 2006 and helped build simulations for various missile systems, primarily SM-3. In 2016, she assumed her current role and works with her team to maintain the operational readiness of APL’s SM-3 six-degree-of-freedom simulation and hardware-in-the-loop capabilities. She and her team also provide the Missile Defense Agency with assessments about fleet risks, hardware service life, reliability and development of new capabilities. Additionally, Chou has spent several years working on various diversity and innovation initiatives within AMDS and APL.

“I’m looking forward to learning about energy footprint evaluations, how infrastructure design alters human behavior and vice versa, and how we can use automation while being mindful of the impact it has on jobs,” Chou said. “As technologists, we often focus on the engineering problems and forget to account for the human effects [labor force skills, public familiarity with scientific concepts, the public trust of science]. I’d like to understand better how we improve the latter.”

Chou begins her sabbatical and fellowship in September.

Media contact: Ken Melton, 240-592-3864,

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