Introducing the 2024 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows

A formal group photo in front of the California State Capitol, with the Fellows standing in 3 rows on top, and a roster of individual headshots on a white background below.
Introducing the 2024 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Applications are currently open for the 2025 class of Fellows.

Introducing the 2024 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows
See where these talented PhD scientists will be spending their Fellowship year in California State Government.

SACRAMENTO, CA—We are excited to introduce the 2024 Class of CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows. Now celebrating 15 years of Fellows, 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 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 formal group photo in front of the California State Capitol, with the Fellows standing in 3 rows.
2024 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows

This year, their technical expertise includes fields spanning herbicides and cultured meat; environmental chemistry; neural control of reproduction; processes of planet formation; climate change and wildfire risk management; colorful pigments found in fruits and vegetables; emotions and memory in the brain; disruptions to neurodevelopment; protecting the brain from fetal herpes virus; earthquake early warning systems and seismic safety; preventing salt formation in water treatment processes; sustainable water treatment technologies; toxicants and neurological disease; and learning and memory in mice.

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



Meet the 2024 CCST S&T Policy Fellows:

A group photo of the Fellows up top with a listed roster of each Fellow, their photo, and placement.
Download the 2024 roster (PDF).

California State Assembly:

Kathleen Chen, PhD | Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee
PhD: Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA
BA: Chemistry, Wellesley College

Stephanie Choing, PhD | Assembly Transportation Committee
PhD: Chemistry, UC Berkeley
BA: Chemistry, Northwestern University

Brenda Cisneros Larios, PhD | Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee
PhD: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan
BS: Physiology, San Francisco State University

Sarina Patel, PhD | Assembly Emergency Management Committee
PhD: Earth and Planetary Science, UC Berkeley
BA: Geology, Middlebury College

Slater Sharp, PhD | Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee
PhD: Neurobiology, Harvard University
BA: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cornell College


California State Senate:

Max Ladow, PhD | Senate Housing Committee
PhD: Neuroscience, UC San Francisco
BS: Neuroscience, Brown University

Benjamin O’Brien Hokanson, PhD | Senate Transportation Committee
PhD: Cell Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin
BA: Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Holly Rudel, PhD | Senate Environmental Quality Committee
PhD: Environmental Engineering, Yale University
BA: Chemical Physics, Bowdoin College


California State Agencies and Offices of the Governor:

Erik Davies, PhD | California Air Resources Board, Office of the Chair
PhD: Earth and Planetary Science, UC Davis
BS: Physics, University of Redlands

Jill Horing, PhD | California Energy Commission, Office of Chair David Hochschild
PhD: Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University
BA: Environmental Engineering, Dartmouth College

Ellia La, PhD | California Department of Toxic Substances Control
PhD: Food Science & Technology, The Ohio State University
BS: Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara

Alexandra Lanjewar, PhD | California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
PhD: Neuroscience, University of Southern California
BS: Neuroscience, University of Miami

Julianne Rolf, PhD | California Department of Finance
PhD: Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University
BS: Environmental Engineering, UC Riverside

Nicholas Santiago, PhD | California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
PhD: Environmental Health and Toxicology, UC Santa Cruz
BS: Biology and Society, Neurobiology and Behavior Concentration, Cornell University

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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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A formal group photo in front of the California State Capitol, with the Fellows standing in 3 rows.

Update: Applications for the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Have Closed