Mihal Gross begins the interview with a discussion of her family history, her childhood years in Queens, New York as a first generation American and the influences that fueled her wide-ranging interests at the intersections of math, science, engineering, and the arts. After skipping a year and graduating from the Bronx High School at age sixteen, Gross attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, Gross' wide-ranging interests led her to explore chemical oceanography, chemical engineering, and materials science, while also enjoying the intense freshman chemistry classes and labs, ultimately leading her to major in chemistry as the central science around which her multidisciplinary interests revolved. Gross' multidisciplinary interests led her to graduate research in organometallic photochemistry at Northwestern University, where she received her PhD in four years. Gross joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey as a Member of Technical Staff in 1981. Her research focused on the emerging areas of chemical vapor deposition, laser and ion beam direct-write, and other aspects of thin film science related to electrical, optical, and superconducting properties of materials for high performance integrated circuits and devices. She discusses founding the Chemical Perspectives of Microelectronic Materials Symposium at the annual Materials Research Society conference to highlight the importance of chemistry in the semiconductor revolution in the context of a multidisciplinary venue. After twenty years at Bell Labs, through numerous corporate transitions, Gross describes moving to Washington, DC to better understand and engage in national science and technology policy. She was selected as the AAAS/RAND Science and Technology Policy Fellow at RAND, conducting studies on the impact of government policies on science & technology workforce issues and technology transition of federally funded research for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She moved to the Office of Naval Research as Program Officer for the Functional Solid State and Nanostructured Materials Program and currently serves as Program Manager for the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science's Nanoscale Science Research Centers and Electron Beam Microcharacterization Centers, scientific user facilities located across the country at DOE national laboratories. To conclude, Gross discusses her perceptions of the value and importance of diverse perspectives and backgrounds, as an experimental scientist working to improve communications between disciplines, between research and development, and across industry, government, and academia.
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