Introducing the 2021 class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows

January 26, 2021 | ,  

2021 CCST S&T Policy Fellows group shot
The 2021 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows.


SACRAMENTO, CA—We are excited to introduce the 2021 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Now celebrating its 12th year, the program places PhD level scientists and engineers in Legislative and Executive Branch offices, training them for careers in public policy while helping to equip California’s decision makers with science-savvy staff.

Applications are currently being accepted for next year’s class.

In a first for the program, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these fifteen PhD scientists reported for training in November virtually. They participated in our annual policy training program — a crash course on the process, history, and landscape of California policymaking, as well as skills development and communications workshops to prepare them for the intense, dynamic pace of the Capitol policy world.

Fellows placed in the California State Legislature work on policy committees and in member offices in the California State Senate and Assembly. Fellows placed in the Executive Branch work in California State Agencies and in offices of the Governor. The program is made possible by the State of California as well as continued philanthropic support.

This year, their technical expertise includes fields spanning fracking wastewater contaminants, neurodegenerative disease, innate immunity and chronic viral infections, effects of crude oil exposure on development of natural fish populations, reducing GHGs from dairy manure, marine mammal physiology, economic characteristics of resilient prehispanic settlements, biological molecules associated with infectious disease, the neurobiology of drug addiction and medications for cocaine relapse, using field geology, remote sensing, and physics to study ancient rivers on Mars, and more.

Our 2021 CCST Science Fellows have completed PhD research at the likes of Caltech, UC Davis, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, University of Michigan, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UC Santa Cruz, and Oxford.

Who are these talented, passionate professionals, and which offices are they working in now?


Let’s meet our 2021 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows:


California State Assembly:


2021 Fellows Assembly Placements

Nichole Holm | Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee
PhD: Genetics, UC Davis

Marika Nell | Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials Committee
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University

Jane Park | Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee
Integrative Genetics and Genomics, UC Davis

Mary Soliman | Assembly Judiciary Committee
Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Johns Hopkins University


California State Senate:


2021 Fellows Senate Placements

Nora Brackbill | Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
Physics, Stanford University

Rylie Ellison | Senate Environmental Quality Committee
Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, UC Davis

Karl Larson | Office of Senator Stern
Molecular, Cellular, & Integrative Physiology, UC Davis

Carlos Puentes | Office of Senator Wieckowski
Neuroscience, University of Michigan


Executive Branch:


2021 Fellows Executive Branch Placements

Rabab Charafeddine | California Department of Insurance
Biomedical Sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Bianca L. Gentil | Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GOBiz)
Anthropology, Penn State University

Alistair Hayden | California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
Geology, Caltech

Nicole Hernandez | California Strategic Growth Council
PhD: Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania

Grant S. Hisao | California Department of Toxic Substances Control
Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jason John | California Natural Resources Agency
Physiology, UC Santa Cruz

Clio Korn | California Air Resources Board
Neuroscience, University of Oxford


See the full roster:

2021 Fellows Placements Grid
2021 CCST Science & Technology Fellows placements.



About the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship
The CCST Science Fellows program trains scientific thinkers to be policy-savvy, while helping equip California’s decision makers with science-savvy staff. The program was established in 2009 with funds from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and other generous friends. Discover how our CCST Science Fellows make a difference in California’s policy arena at

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