Introducing the 2023 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows

A group photo of the fellows with a blue overlay on the side and text describing the Fellowship with CCST's logo
Introducing the 2023 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Applications are currently open for the 2024 class of Fellows.

SACRAMENTO, CA—We are excited to introduce the 2023 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Now celebrating its 14th 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.

APPLY NOW: We are currently recruiting applications for the 2024 class of Fellows through March 31st. Learn more and apply.

These fourteen 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.

A group photo of the 2023 CCST S&T Policy Fellows standing together in front of the California State Capitol steps dressed in business attire.
The 2023 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Applications are currently open for the 2024 class of Fellows.

This year, their technical expertise includes fields spanning seaweeds; environmental impact of EV batteries; plant leaf efficiency; early prediction of drug safety in individuals; immune responses behind cancer, asthma, and eczema; location of seal food in the open ocean; carbon capture materials; immune response to Valley fever; sustainable land systems and zero-deforestation; virus-human interactions for therapy targets; smog formation from consumer products and LA air quality; microfluidics in medicine; pheromones for bumblebee conservation and pest management; and changes to California’s hydroclimatic extreme events.

Are you looking to apply your PhD research skills to an exciting and impactful career in policy? The CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows program is open to those holding a PhD or equivalent degree in science, engineering, or social science fields such as economics, sociology, or psychology. Eligibility information, program timeline, and the application link can be found at

Start your application today and receive email reminders along the way. Please help us share this announcement on your job boards, newsletters, and @ us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Meet the 2023 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows:

A group photo of the Fellows up top with a listed roster of each Fellow, their photo, and placement.
View the 2023 Fellows’ placements and bios.

California State Assembly:

Sam Mahanes, PhD | Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee

Stephanie Mitchell, PhD | Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee

Dirk Jamal Spencer, PhD | Assembly Transportation Committee


California State Senate:

Aiyana Cortez, PhD | Senate Housing Committee

Jeanmarie Gonzalez, PhD | Office of Senator Durazo

Theresa Keates, PhD | Senate Environmental Quality Committee


California State Agencies and Offices of the Governor:

Sophia Chan, PhD | Department of Toxic Substances Control

Anh L. Diep, PhD | California Natural Resources Agency, 30×30 California

Paul Furumo, PhD | California Air Resources Board, Office of the Chair

Opeoluwa O. Oyewole, PhD | Department of Insurance, Climate and Sustainability Branch

Elyse Pennington, PhD | Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), Recovery and Mitigation Programs

Alejandra Rios, PhD | California Energy Commission, Office of Chair David Hochschild

Elana Varner, PhD | Department of Pesticide Regulation, Executive Office

Diana Zamora-Reyes, PhD | Strategic Growth Council, Climate Change Research Program

About the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship
The CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows program places PhD-level scientists, engineers, and social scientists in the California State Legislature, State Agencies, and Offices of the Governor for a year of public policy, leadership training, and public service—training scientific thinkers to be policy-savvy, while helping equip California’s decision makers with science-savvy staff. Discover how our CCST S&T Policy Fellows make a difference in California’s policy arena and learn how to apply at

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