Random Thoughts from Debbie

Hi Deborah,

I hope that 2023 is beginning well for all of you!  February is a good time to think about the future, particularly if you're looking for a job or considering taking on a policy task in your current job or as a volunteer. 

January, to me, is a flurry of starting all sorts of activities from the beginning of school (as a parent or student) or starting up a new project after the break.  By February, most activities have settled down and you can think about your own professional development.  

So take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish this year in S&T policy.  Some examples:

  • Build your portfolio of policy-related work.  I hope you will consider submitting an article, policy brief, video, poem, fiction, opinion piece etc. to Forefront, co-edited by myself and Rachel Owen.  We felt that there needed to be a space where the S&T policy community can express their ideas about how to enhance society — even radical ones.  We also wanted the ability to publish quickly in response to news events as opposed to the months-long process of traditional publications.
  • Participate in the AAAS Annual meeting.  For those in S&T policy, this is the premier event  with interesting ideas from throughout the country and the world.  You will learn so much!  Even someone like me who has been around for a long time always picks up new and interesting ideas, and of course, you'll meet interesting people.  The good news is that participation is easier than ever. So if you can't afford the money or time to go to this year's location, Washington DC, you can participate virtually as well. The Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy Coalition (ESEP) has prepared its always useful guide to policy-related sessions at the AAAS meeting.  I'll be at the entire meeting, hosting one session and speaking at another. The details are below.  Please stop by and say "hi" if you're there.
  • Consider applying for a state S&T policy fellowship. I've been part of a team that for a number of years now has been working to expand the concept of policy fellowships to the state level.  Personally, I'm working on a pilot in West Virginia and I can see how much difference these experiences have made for even the small number of people in this part-time pilot.  Several full-time programs, listed below, are currently accepting applications.  Please take a look and think about applying for them. Note that you do not need to be from the state to apply for these fellowship programs.  Some accept international STEM graduates, depending on their visa status.
  • Think Local!  You probably can have more power and influence than you think by focusing on local S&T policy.  Lots of great guidance and inspiration is available from ESAL - Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally, a national organization dedicated to increasing local civic engagement.  Their tagline - Changes Start at Home: And Engineers and Scientists Play an Important Role.

Finally, I'm excited to let you know that this year I was elected as an honorary fellow of AAAS - the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The citation indicates it is "For her major, long-term contributions to national science and technology policy and the development of the science and technology policy workforce of the future."

 Just hit reply to let me know your thoughts, how you’re doing, any questions you might have, and your feedback on any and all of this communication. I'm particularly interested in hearing if you received a fellowship, job, or other opportunity.  Sharing your story can help inspire others who are on the same path you were a few years ago. 

Cool Resources 

The webinar I'm looking forward to this month is the release of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report on  "Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations: Beyond Broadening Participation" on February 14, 2023 at 11:00 am ET. According to NASEM, "The report will review the literature on bias and racism in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) workplaces; approaches to increase racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in STEM organizations (e.g., universities, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and industry); and offer best policies and practices for DEI and anti-racism initiatives, as well as outline goals for relevant, future research and for organizational strategic planning."  Register to watch it live (always more fun) and I imagine a video will be available later if you can't make it. 

When I was at NASEM, I organized many such events and it was always a combination of terror (will my chair get sick??) and thrill (that others can see the benefit of a lot of hard work by a village of experts and staff) and hope (that it would not sit on the shelf and something would happen as a result!).  In general, when researching any topic, visit the National Academy Press website and you're sure to find a report useful to your work -- even one from long ago.

Did You Know?

If you are an S&T policy academy alumni, you're welcome to participate in monthly office hours to workshop a analysis you've developed, ask career advice, or get my thoughts on the latest on the latest S&T policy and politics.  For February, go to this link to provide your availability by Thursday, February 2. 

More Ways to Learn and Grow

The S&T Policy Academy has a number of ways for you to learn and grow:

    • ON DEMAND CLASSES FOR INDIVIDUALS:  Affordable classes that you can do at your own pace anywhere.  If you are a member of the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), you can get half off and apply for professional development funds that are enough to pay your entire tuition.  For each class you complete, you receive a digital badge.  Complete all four and you receive a certificate. To get more information or sign up, go to this webpage.  You can also register for the new class, Equity Analysis for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals. This class is still in the pilot phase so sign up now while prices are low.
    • WORKSHOPS FOR ACADEMIC AND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS, GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, & NON-PROFITS:  Workshops can cover any science & technology policy topic of interest to the sponsoring organization for any timeframe.  Now is the time to sign up for these before my schedule fills up.  I now have workshops booked through August.  A 1.5-hour interactive virtual workshop is only $250. Schedule a no-cost no obligation consultation on my calendar if you’re interested so we can work together to identify what will work best for your group.  You can see more information and examples of past topics on this page.
    • PREMIERE EXECUTIVE COACHING FOR INDIVIDUALS OR SMALL TEAMS:  Premiere executive coaching is for individuals, groups of professionals, or Ph.D. candidates or postdocs who are interested in implementing science & technology policy analysis principles for a specific project, program, initiative, research paper, or dissertation. With coaching, you can learn life-long skills and at the same time reach your organization’s policy or communication goals. If you’re interested, please schedule a free consultation on my calendar to see if premiere executive coaching is a “right fit” for you. More information and frequently asked questions are on this page.
    • DONE FOR YOU SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY POLICY ANALYSIS, PROGRAM EVALUATION, & COMMUNICATION:  If time and staff are limited, and you are a non-profit or academic organization, industry, or business who wants to get a message out to the policymakers, then the Science & Technology Policy Academy can work with your team to get that project done. We can gather both existing and new information via surveys, interviews, focus groups, or roundtable discussions with experts or stakeholders.  We can then produce communication products such as policymaker guides, policy briefs, case studies, videos, and infographics.  Want to chat further to see if we’re a good fit for each other?  Then please schedule a free consultation on my calendar.  More information is and examples of past work is available on this page.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Deborah D. Stine, Founder, Science & Technology Policy Academy


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Deborah Stine
Science & Technology Policy Academy