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Newly Appointed S&T Policy Fellows Arrive in Sacramento

January 10, 2013
The 2012-2013 class of S&T Policy Fellows. The Fellows are serving one-year appointments in various offices in both the Senate and the Assembly.

The California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program has placed its fourth consecutive group of fellows in the California state legislature, continuing to build on a growing legacy of making S&T expertise available to lawmakers in a way most states do not have.

Each year, the program places ten professional scientists in yearlong appointments in the legislature. It is designed to enable fellows to work with policymakers in addressing issues that involve science or technology. The CCST program is modeled on a similar one run by AAAS in Congress for decades; four years after its inception, the California S&T Policy Fellowship remains the only state-level program of its kind.

The first three groups of fellows have been well received by the legislature, receiving formal acknowledgments and thanks at the end of their terms from both houses.

"Each of these men and women... brought a vital body of knowledge and experience, and have shared with us their insights on crucial policy issues ranging from energy to agriculture," said Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez in recognizing the 2011-12 fellows on the floor of the Assembly last August.

The intersection of science, technology and policy can be challenging. Many issues, including those such as water management or greenhouse gas emissions, can involve considerable amounts of research and data. The fellows are charged with using their analytical and research expertise to help policymakers navigate these data.

In order to be able to work most effectively with policymakers, S&T Policy Fellows begin their term each Fall with a rigorous training regimen, during which they are introduced to the realities of working in the Legislature and the specialized skills needed to be successful in their assigned Fellowship roles. They are placed in their legislative offices in early December to work under the guidance of mentors from the legislative staff.

Many previous fellows have continued employment in the public sector following the end of their appointments, with several obtaining jobs in the Legislative staff and executive agencies of California; one has been recruited to work as staff to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the White House.

The 2012-13 group of fellows is working in a range of appointments, including the Senate committees on Natural Resources and Water Committee, Environmental Quality, Energy, Utilities and Communications, and Health and Human Services, as well as the Senate Office of Research and the offices of five Assembly members.

CCST Spotlight is a weekly newsletter focusing on CCST activities and highlighting innovative science and technology research, applications, and policy issues in California. The Spotlight editor is Danny DeCillis. We welcome information and feedback from our readers about science and technology at work in the private, public, and education sectors. To send us questions or comments, contact us at, or (951) 682-8701.