A new year means new beginnings. And for ten highly accomplished scientists and engineers, 2016 will mean a year of public service and leadership training in the California State Legislature.
I am thrilled to introduce to everyone the 2016 Class of our CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship!
Our latest Fellowship cohort hail from as far away as Chicago and Baltimore to as close as Davis. Their technical expertise spans the fields of metal alloys, pesticide toxicology, tomato genetics, and pancreatic cancer. And their personal and professional passion to bring scientific thinking to public policy is what brings them all to Sacramento.
Erin received a PhD in Genetics from UC Davis, where she studied water stress tolerance in tomatoes, with the goal of identifying ways to improve tolerance to drought and other types of water stress. She received her BS in Biochemistry and BA in Anthropology from the University of Washington. Erin’s placement is with the California State Senate Office of Research.
Emily received a PhD in Cell Biology from UCSF and completed her undergraduate work at Monterey Peninsula College, American River College, and UC Santa Cruz. She performed her doctoral thesis research at the Gladstone Institutes, where she studied how factors influencing heart development can be leveraged to improve heart function after heart attack. Emily’s placement is with Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova).
Dan received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington, where his research focused on how marine organisms adapt to their environments. Dan earned undergraduate degrees in Biology and Art History from Stanford University. Most recently, Dan was a researcher at UC Santa Cruz, where he studied marine conservation. Dan’s placement is with the California State Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
Sarah received both her PhD and her BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Her doctoral research focused on timber policy and water quality on California’s North Coast. She also holds an MS from the University of Montana, where she studied rancher involvement in ecosystem restoration. Sarah’s placement is with the California State Senate Transportation & Housing Committee.
Matt received his PhD in Soils and Biogeochemistry from UC Davis, studying how plant roots affect soil erosion and the flow of nitrogen through soils. He has a MA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BS in Plant Biology from UC Davis. Matthew’s placement is with the California State Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Diana earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. She assessed human health exposure risks from organic pesticides in lakes, and studied new ways of cleaning up contaminants in aquatic environments. Diana’s placement is with Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward).
Esha received her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, where she studied pancreatic cancer to identify possible drug targets, and also earned a graduate certificate in Science, Technology, and Public Policy. She also holds a BS and Masters in Engineering in Bioengineering from Cornell University. Esha’s placement is with Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside).
Gabby received her PhD in Chemistry from UC Davis, designing chemical probes to study cell division in bacteria. She received her BS in Chemistry from UC Santa Cruz developing safer chemical reagents for organic synthesis. While at UC Davis, she co-instructed a chemistry camp for blind and visually-impaired teens. Gabby’s placement is with Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord).
Renita earned a PhD in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in Genetic Engineering from Cedar Crest College. Her dissertation research focused on the genetics of congenital heart defects in people with Down syndrome. Renita’s placement is with Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson).
John received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, and a BS in Physics with a Minor in Music from New York University. His graduate work focused on improving how engineers design metal alloys, through experiments that were run on the International Space Station. John’s placement is with Assemblymember Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake).
This marks the seventh Fellowship Class that the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) has convened.
Our ten Fellows arrived last November, undergoing a “policy boot camp” at our downtown headquarters. Here, they went through a crash course on the policymaking process, on the history and landscape of California politics, and on how to adapt their logical and technical talent to the dynamic, multifaceted arena that is the California State Legislature.
California has one of the largest economies in the world, and so many critical issues facing our state today – water, energy, and public health, just to name a few – require a deep understanding of science. California’s policies are stronger with science, and CCST is proud to facilitate this Fellowship program to encourage more scientists to explore a career in public policy, while helping to equip California’s lawmakers with science-savvy staff.
If you’re a member of the Legislative community who wants to learn more about our Fellowship program, please come by our K Street office and say hello. And if you’re a scientist or engineer who is excited to explore a career in policy, then apply now to join our 2017 Fellowship Class.
And to all of our friends and colleagues, please extend a warm welcome to our new Science Fellows! Best wishes for a successful 2016.
Amber Mace, PhD, is the Deputy Director of the California Council on Science and Technology and a Policy Fellow at the UC Davis Policy Institute. Mace formerly served as the Executive Director of California Ocean Protection Council and Assistant Secretary for Coastal Matters at the California Natural Resources Agency, after serving as a Sea Grant Policy Fellow with the United States Senate. Mace received her PhD in ecology from the University of California, Davis.