CCST Policy Fellows Look to Opportunities in Federal Laboratories

The inaugural group of CCST Policy Fellows, who continue to connect with the broader S&T community, met with senior personnel from several federal funded laboratories on May 7th as part of an ongoing seminar series covering topics ranging from water and budget to state agency employment options.

“This was a terrific opportunity to connect the Policy Fellows with the expertise and opportunities offered by California’s federal laboratories,” said Lora Lee Martin, Director, CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows.

CCST is running weekly Friday training seminars for the Fellows that cover a range of policy issues of interest to the State. In addition, recent seminars have included an introduction to state agency employment options (hosted by Toby Ewing, director of the California Research Bureau) and career opportunities with the federal laboratories.

Laboratories – California, NASA Ames Research Center, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, covering the primary missions and scope of each institution.

“We work to address national needs by engaging the Lab on the greatest scientific and technical challenges of our times,” said Bill Singh, of Lawrence Berkeley. “In order to do so, our challenge is to foster and harness the creativity of outstanding individuals, working collectively across disciplines and boundaries to find solutions. The Policy Fellows represent exactly the sort of people we are interested in.”

The Policy Fellows are professional scientists and engineers placed in various offices in the California State Legislature for one-year appointments. These professional development opportunities enable Fellows to work hands on with policy-makers to help develop solutions to complex scientific and technical issues facing California through their interaction with the legislative process. Five are in the State Assembly and five in the State Senate. Some are working in members’ offices and some as committee staff. In addition to learning about the legislative process, their work includes participating in the development of bill ideas, analyzing bills, and writing reports for the Legislature.

“It was a good opportunity not only for the Fellows to see what opportunities exist within the labs, but also for them to understand the role that the labs play on a regular basis in assisting California,” said Susan Hackwood, Executive Director of CCST, “The more information the Fellows are exposed to about the resources and infrastructure the labs have to offer, the more they can share with the legislators and staffers with whom they are placed this year.” Some of the projects underway at the laboratories include Homeland Security and Defense work (Sandia) and other emergency service support, such as airborne observation for regional disasters such as wildfires (NASA Ames).

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