Random Thoughts from Debbie

Hi Deborah,

     I hope everyone had a great summer!  My big trip over the summer was to the interior of Ecuador and the Galapagos.  I love international travel because it brings me to an environment different from my own, and I learn so much from the people I meet.  It also makes me realize how much we take for granted in the United States. 

       One major example from Ecuador is that they no longer have a public mail system.  It went bankrupt a few years ago.  The U.S. postal system often faces similar challenges, but policies are in place to try and get it on the right track.  Not having a postal system is a real challenge and an economic barrier.  For example, I was interested in purchasing a local artist's work, but it was too large to carry on the plane.  I couldn't do what I have done in other countries and pay to have it mailed to me because there is no postal system.  I have to wonder what impact it has on their science and technology enterprise.

      On the bright side, the country itself is beautiful, as are, of course, the animals.  And, if you're wondering why the blue-footed boobies' feet are blue and the role of evolution, here's the answer from biologists at the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

On the Academy front, this summer, I focused on expanding the Academy's coaching offerings.  We now have science and technology policy-focused career, executive, and consulting business coaching available.  You can learn more about these topics through our new free resources page.  There, you can start discovering the ideas, strategies, and insights you need to grow your science and technology policy career so that you can make a difference in the world!  In addition to background documents, you'll see videos from some of our past activities on equity analysis, program evaluation, and using Chat GPT to enhance your science and technology policy activities.  All you need to access this material is to sign up for this newsletter (which you presumably have done already, but for those to whom this is forwarded, please sign up here!).

In other exciting news, I finished my book entitled "From Expertise to Impact: A Practical Guide to Informing and Influencing Science and Technology Policy" this summer, and it will hopefully be available for release by the end of the year.  Right now, it is in the formatting stage as an e-book.  My goal is to keep it as inexpensive as Amazon will allow me.  Per Amazon rules, I will have a limited number of days where I can provide free advance copies.  Those of you receiving this newsletter will be the first to know when those copies are available!

As the organizations to whom you belong get ready for their events this academic year, please consider signing up for an affordable S&T Policy Academy workshop. My schedule is already starting to fill up, so please reach out as soon as you can if you're interested. Click here to set up a day/time for a free discovery call or email me at deborah@scitechpolicyacademy.com.

That's it for this month.  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 

Now is a good time to sign up for some great free newsletters to keep you informed on what's happening in science and technology policy, or policy generally, for that matter.

  • American Institute of Physics (AIP) FYI Newsletter - This is my favorite of the S&T policy newsletters focused on DC because it provides straightforward, detailed, unopionated information that I can use.  The information is not limited to physics by any means.  Sample topics "NSF Board Examining Agency Workforce Shortages, CHIPS Implementation," "Revised Government-Wide Grantee Disclosure Forms Open for Comment," and Upcoming Events (most of which I can watch virtually from here in Pittsburgh), and Opportunities (Career openings, Public Comment Opportunities).
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Policy Newsletter: This newsletter provides short, useful information on Budget & Finance Outlook, Congressional News, and Executive Spotlight. You need to be a AAAS member to get this newsletter (which you should be anyhow if you're interested in policy). 
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Newsletters:  I don't think there is an S&T policy topic that the NASEM has not addressed over time.  For just about any policy analysis topic, your first stop should be the National Academy Press website, where you can download free PDFs of expert committee analysis.  To keep up-to-date on report releases, events, open committee meetings, etc. you should subscribe to the newsletter from a board/committee of interest to you. (P.S. I worked there for 18 years, so often when I talk about reports on climate change, human reproductive cloning, evaluating research program, and R&D funding, this is where to find those reports)
  • Bipartisan Policy Center:  The BPC addresses just about every S&T policy issue out there, including campus free expression, energy, health, higher education, infrastructure, technology, etc. I even served as a speaker once on a panel focused on the utility of reviving the former congressional Office of Technology Assessment.  So, this newsletter is a good way to get a big-picture policy perspective that addresses S&T policy issues without that being the focus.  
  • National Council of State Legislatures:  The NCSL is where state legislatures communicate best practices to respond to their societal challenge. I was fortunate once to attend an NCSL annual meeting and was very impressed with the quality of the discussion and analysis among the state legislators.  As they mention on their website, state legislatures are the "The Laboratories of Democracy," and few national policies move forward without an innovative state developing and implementing them first.  So, it's worthwhile to subscribe to their newsletter(s) to know what's happening at the state level.  You can pick a policy topic like children, youth, and families; education; environment and natural resources; energy; economic development, etc. as well as general state legislative news. 
  • Specialty Newsletters -- This will depend on the topics of interest to you.  In this case, it's best to ask colleagues which ones they like. Here are some of mine:  Carbon180, Resources for the Future, Inside Climate News, Inside Higher Ed, Legal Planet (this last is great for state-level policy).
  • Letters from an American:  I just started subscribing to this daily newsletter about the history behind today's politics from historian Heather Cox Richardson.  With over a million subscribers, this newsletter provides context to each day's world events. S&T policy is covered on occasion. I agree with her statement that says "Historians are fond of saying that the past doesn’t repeat itself; it rhymes. To understand the present, we have to understand how we got here."
    Clearly, I subscribe to TOOOO many newsletters (as this list is certainly not all of them!), but part of my job is to keep my eye on what's going on so my clients don't have to. :-). Hopefully, you'll find one or more newsletters of interest to you.   

Did You Know? 

Did you take a science and technology policy class through the Academy but never got around to getting your digital badgeor certificate? All you need to do to get your badge is watch all the videos in the series for the class you took and reflect on the experience using this form.   (No content test required!) I'll then do what I need to do on my side to send you the badge.

More Ways to Learn and Grow

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

Thanks for reading!

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


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Deborah Stine
Science & Technology Policy Academy