SACRAMENTO, CA—We are excited to introduce the 2022 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Now celebrating its 13th year, the program places PhD level scientists, engineers, and social scientists 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.
These sixteen PhD scientists arrived in Sacramento in November, where 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 environmental toxicology, bioengineering, lithium-ion battery chemistry, neuroscience of opioid addiction, the biochemistry of Valley Fever, the biostatistics of heart-healthy dietary patterns, maladaptive decision making and addiction, chemical engineering for microchips, the biogeochemistry of mercury, biochemical tools for medicine development, 3D imaging of batteries, the ecology of mate preferences, developmental psychology of strength in difficult contexts, airborne impacts of dust and wildfire smoke, gender and antigay bias in the labor market, and investigating novel therapeutic targets for brain disorders.
Our 2022 CCST S&T Policy Fellows have completed PhD research at the likes of Michigan State University, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, Washington University in St. Louis, UC Davis, University of Washington, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, Colorado School of Mines, University of Oklahoma, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, Stanford University, and Baylor College of Medicine.
Who are these talented, passionate professionals, and which offices are they working in now?
Let’s meet our 2022 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows:
California State Assembly:
Javier A. Garcia | Assembly Education Committee
PhD: Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, UC Davis
Aaron Kurz | Assembly Transportation Committee
PhD: Environmental Biogeochemistry, University of Michigan
Natalie Seitzman | Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee
PhD: Materials Science, Colorado School of Mines
Alec Watts | Assembly Judiciary Committee
PhD: Sociology, Stanford University
Manar Zaghlula | Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials Committee
PhD: Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
California State Senate:
Stephen Cutie | Office of Senator Pan
PhD: Bioengineering, UCSF – UC Berkeley
Andrew Dawson | Senate Housing Committee
PhD: Chemistry, UCLA
Hannah E. Frye | Senate Business, Professions, & Economic Development Committee
PhD: Neuroscience, Washington Univ. in St. Louis
Zoe R. Guttman | Office of Senator Portantino
PhD: Neuroscience, UCLA
Jacob O’Connor | Senate Environmental Quality Committee
PhD: Biochemistry, University of Washington
Alexandra Colón-Rodríguez | Governor’s Office of Planning and Research: Precision Medicine Initiative
PhD: Neuroscience and Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University
Natalie Gasca | California Department of Pesticide Regulation
PhD: Biostatistics, University of Washington
Michael Karavolias | California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz)
PhD: Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Montrai A. Spikes | California Strategic Growth Council
PhD: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Oklahoma
Agnes Varghese | California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
PhD: Developmental Psychology, UC Riverside
Kara Voss | California Department of Insurance
PhD: Oceanography, UC San Diego
See the full roster:
About the California Council on Science and Technology
The California Council on Science and Technology is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established via the California State Legislature — making California’s policies stronger with science and technology since 1988. We engage leading experts in science and technology to advise State policymakers — ensuring that California policy is strengthened and informed by scientific knowledge, research, and innovation.