University of Central Florida graduate Albert Manero has been awarded the Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship.

The fellowship, which operates under the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academies of Science, is in its 19th year. It provides early career individuals with the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at the program in Washington, D.C., learning about science and technology policy and the role that scientists and engineers play in advising the nation. It is a hands-on program where fellows work with mentors and participate in committee work.

“The fellowship is a really unique opportunity to observe and participate in science policy formulation on a national scale with some of the most renowned experts in the field,” said Manero’s advisor, engineering associate professor Seetha Raghavan. “It will give him an opportunity to immerse himself in the analytical process that informs U.S. science and technology policy. Knowing Albert, this opportunity to learn the skills necessary to participate in science policy at the federal level will truly empower him to make positive impact on a much greater scale than he is already capable of.”

A total of 25 fellows were selected from around the nation. Many fellows go on to positions in academia, federal agencies and Capitol Hill.

Manero earned his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering in December. He specialized in nondestructive testing and high-temperature ceramics, applicable for jet engine blades and space planes. His academic work has earned him multiple national honors. He spent a year at the German Aerospace Center on a Fulbright Academic Fellowship and was a finalist for a National Science Foundation Fellowship.

His nonprofit work has earned him recognition, as well. He and some friends launched Limbitless Solutions in 2014. The nonprofit organization designs, builds and delivers inexpensive 3-D printed bionic arms for children at no cost to families. The team has delivered 20 arms to date, doing all their work while juggling school, jobs, internships and family commitments.

Manero has been recognized for his innovation and passion to change the world with multiple awards including: STEAM Dream Team Award, Microsoft’s Collective Project Recognition, UCF’s Order of Pegasus, Florida’s Champion of Service Award, and UCF’s alumni Michelle Akers Award.

Limbitless has been invited to present at conferences around the world, such as in Dubai, New Zealand, India and Europe. In September, the team was invited to the White House Design For All Showcase. The event was held to highlight the ways that assistive technology breaks down barriers, reduces stigma and improves the quality of life for Americans with disabilities. Creative director Stephanie Valderrama represented Limbitless at the event.

“I am excited for the opportunity to gain perspectives in policy development and implementation, and to learn a more holistic approach regarding administration and education,” Manero said. “This will provide exposure to a diverse array of strategies for implementing effective policy and technical communication of which I look forward to bringing back with me.”