The fifth cohort of CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellows has received formal recognition for their service by the leadership of both the California State Assembly and the Senate, with the Fellows earning praise for their contributions and dedication.
“This is a terrific program,” said Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, in acknowledging the Fellows who worked with the California Senate this past year. “It’s very significant because public policy now often involves technology and science, and these people have done a great public service.”
Established in 2009, the CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program places up to ten scientists in yearlong appointments in the California State Legislature. The program is designed to enable fellows to work hands-on with policymakers in addressing complex scientific and technical issues as well as assume all the other legislative responsibilities of full-time legislative staffers. In doing so, the Legislature benefits from having the expertise of a trained Ph.D. level scientist available, and the Fellows gain an invaluable learning experience about the intersection of science, technology, and policy.
“All of these science fellows have brought a wide body of knowledge and experience to the Assembly, and they have shared those insights with us on issues of critical importance to the well-being of our state,” said Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins. “To the Fellows let me just say it’s been a privilege to host you, and I hope you got as much benefit from this experience as we did.”
This year’s appointments included the offices of five Assembly members and the offices of five Senate Committees: the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, the Senate Transportations and Housing Committee, and the Senate Office of Research.
The CCST S&T Policy Fellows Program was modeled on a longstanding program run by AAAS, and was initially funded for a five-year pilot period by a coalition of funders, led by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and including the Stephen Bechtel Fund, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the Tosa Foundation. The success of the CCST program has led to the program’s continuation for several years beyond the initial five-year period, and CCST is engaged in seeking additional sources of funding to maintain the program indefinitely.
“I hope [the Fellows] will find a way to continue to mix their interest, passion in science, technology, and public policy,” said Steinberg. “You can see that those who participate in this program really get a diversity of experience. But it’s not only a benefit to them, it’s a benefit to the Senate and the state. Congratulations.”