Headlines for May 2, 2017
News from CCST
CCST Deputy Director Amber Mace PhD took part in the panel "Informing Public Policy in a 'Post-Facts' World" in Los Angeles on April 6th, as part of the Southern California Grantmakers 2017 Public Policy Conference. Joining panelists Steven Bliss of the California Budget & Policy Center, Laurel Rosenhall of CALmatters and Larry Ingrassia of the Los Angeles Times, Mace spoke about where policymakers find access to scientific information, and how scientists can play a role in informing policy in California --- a prime example being our CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship.
The #SCGPolicyCon17 conference also allowed us opportunity to meet up with good friends and advisors, including WHH Foundation Executive Director Bernadette Glenn, who serves on our CCST Science Fellows Advisory Committee. It was an inspiring day to see how nonprofits and philanthropies around California are working in their own ways to support evidence-driven policymaking and programs, and we appreciate being part of the conversation!
2015 CCST Science Fellow Christine Hochmuth Casey PhD has joined CCST as a Senior Program Associate. Most recently a finance budget analyst with the California Department of Finance, one of Christine's primary responsibilities will be working with the Federal Laboratory Affiliates, taking over the reins from Shannon Muir PhD '15, who departed CCST in March for new opportunities.
As we strengthen our programmatic and analytical capacity at CCST, what better talent to bring aboard than the very Science Fellows we've trained? We are thrilled to have Christine alongside Sarah Brady PhD '14 and Brie Lindsey PhD '14 in our science policy quiver, ensuring our ability to serve California's leadership and respond to their requests for science information. Welcome back, Christine!
UC Riverside doctoral students Drew Story and Holly Mayton presented at the Association for Public Policy and Analysis (APPAM) Regional Student Conference on April 10th in Riverside. Supported by CCST, Story and Mayton have been exploring how water data across various agencies, institutions, and repositories in California can best be managed and integrated. Their research is being conducted in response to a request by the California Department of Water Resources.
Other Headlines from CCST and Our Affiliates:
Our CCST Science Fellows
April saw many former CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows called to the stage to speak out for science. Tepring Piquado PhD '13 was an invited speaker at the March for Science Los Angeles, expressing her personal perspective on the importance of evidenced-based public policy --- as well as sharing her "Vulcan heritage".
Jane Mantey PhD '15 was an invited speaker at the March for Science Sacramento, expressing her personal perspective encouraging scientists to reach out in solidarity and acknowledge the marginalized and underrepresented.
Debra Cooper PhD '15 spoke on April 25th at the Experimental Biology #EB2017 conference in Chicago, sharing her career transition from the lab bench to the Legislature as an example of how young scientists can get involved in government policy careers.
An important lesson our CCST Science Fellows learn is the nuance between communicating advice versus advocacy. Gaining this valuable insight, they now understand how to act as impartial analysts and advisors --- but also how to persuasively advocate or inspire when moved to do so. Wherever our alumni may take these skills --- championing causes personal to them, or mentoring scientists in training --- we're proud to know that their time with CCST has made an impact!
As part of their weekly professional development meetups, the 2017 Class of CCST Science Fellows toured the Berkeley Lab on April 13th. Joined by CCST Senior Program Associate Christine Casey PhD '15, the tour showcased facilities such as the Molecular Foundry, and introduced Science Fellows to career possibilities and Federal research capacities in California.
News from CalTAC
Partnering with the National Academies Teacher Advisory Council (NASEM TAC) and supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, CCST hosted the workshop "How Can STEM Teachers Become Effective, Impartial Voices in Public Policy?" on April 1st at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education, in Los Angeles.
The session was emceed by current CalTAC Chair Andy Kotko of the Folsom Cordova Unified School District and CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood PhD, and featured mini-lessons on the California legislative process and communicating advice versus advocacy, taught by CCST Senior Program Associate Sarah Brady PhD and co-developed by CCST consultants Doug Brown and Ben Young Landis.
More than 50 STEM teachers attended the session, with more than half hailing from states outside of California. The session serves a pilot effort exploring how to integrate CCST's expertise in state policy engagement with the growing need to nurture policy leadership skills for STEM teachers.
Friends of CCST
Industry news website Inside Philanthropy focused on the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in a recent story. The Moore Foundation's support of the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship program, as well as the State Fellowships Planning Grant, were noted as examples of social impact foundations working to strengthen connections between scientists and policymakers.
Greetings from Sacramento
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
California is a state where science thrives, and CCST works at that vibrant, critical intersection of helping science inform public policy. As anti-science and anti-media sentiments sweep the popular discourse in the United States, we find ourselves discussing how policymakers and journalists sort fact from fiction --- and how we can help facilitate fact-based decision-making by our citizens and leaders.
This was the focus of "Informing Public Policy in a 'Post-Facts' World" --- a discussion panel at the Southern California Grantmakers 2017 Public Policy Conference on April 6th, hosted at the California Endowment in Los Angeles. I was honored to join moderator Steven Bliss of the California Budget & Policy Center and serve as a panelist, along with Larry Ingrassia, managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, and reporter Laurel Rosenhall of CALmatters.
Our audience was a who's-who gathering of philanthropic leaders, program managers, and nonprofit thinkers from around Southern California. The enthusiasm to listen, learn, and innovate was palpable in the room. It also didn't hurt to have our friend and champion Bernadette Glenn of the WHH Foundation present --- I always appreciate her encouraging advice and infectious energy.
In the conversation, I mostly focused on where policymakers tend to get information they trust, and how CCST serves as a resource to the State leaders in this capacity.
Lawmakers rely on information from people or organizations they trust, with their legislative staff serving at the top of the list. Of course, our CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship was created precisely to increase the State Legislature's access to science-savvy staff. Having PhD scientists on staff offers legislators an in-house resource to review and advise, in real-time, on any policy issue through a scientific lens. Sometimes it's their subject matter expertise that comes in handy, but more often than not, it's the critical thinking, research, problem solving, and communication skills our CCST Science Fellows bring to the table that make the difference.
Charitable foundations, too, can benefit from having science-savvy staff on hand --- an idea I shared with our panel audience. Funders needing to decide which programs to fund, or how to assess proposed projects for efficacy, often hire staff or seek consultants with technical training in that social impact space --- be it environmental quality, biomedical research, or poverty alleviation. Our friends at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation already leverage such strengths: a number of Moore Foundation program managers hold PhDs in the sciences. By tapping into credible experts and vetting information, scientists can help philanthropists craft fact-based underwriting strategies --- and maximize the impact of their charitable gifts.
Fortunately, more and more scientists and students are interested in learning the craft of science translation, actively pursuing careers in this path, or seeking training to add public communication and policy analysis as part of their academia toolkit. And organizations like ours as well as AAAS, and our partners who are receiving our State Fellowships Planning Grant, are doing our best to prepare this next generation of science translators to work in policy, media, and philanthropic arenas.
All of this gives me hope --- and confidence --- that we aren't living in a "post-fact world" after all. Long after these anti-science winds fade into history, there will still be scientists trained and ready to advise us towards the future.Sincerely,
Amber Mace, PhD
California Council on Science and Technology