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May Commemoration Honors History, Contributions, Collaboration

On 3 May, more than 600 fellows, representatives from executive branch and congressional host offices and agencies, partner societies, and guests gathered to honor the 40-year history of the S&T Policy Fellowships program, celebrate accomplishments, and usher in the fifth decade of operation. The event, emceed by Fellowships Director Cynthia Robinson, highlighted the S&T Policy Fellowships as a collaborative enterprise, and acknowledged the contributions of the many individuals and organizations who contribute to its ongoing success, from sponsoring societies, host offices and mentors, to selection committee members, trainers, donors, staff, and the S&T Policy Fellows.

Eight alumni speakers and a representative from from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), shared their views on the program's many contributions and influences. Their remarks illustrated how the program has enhanced national and international policy since its inception, while transforming the careers of scientists and engineers over the years.

Representing the inaugural class, Mike Telson, vice president for Energy and Advanced Concepts in the Washington, DC, office of General Atomics (1973-74 AAAS Congressional Fellow) provided context for the launch of the program and answering the call for civic engagement. Paul Gilman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Covanta Energy (1978-79 AAAS Congressional Fellow), and the Honorable Rush Holt, U.S. Representative, NJ-12 (1982-83 APS Congressional Fellow), spoke about the importance of connecting science and policy. Click here to view Representative Holt's video-taped address.

Maria Freire, president of the Foundation for NIH (1984-1986 BS/ASP Congressional Fellow), addressed the role of science in service to society. Developing leaders for grand challenges was the emphasis of remarks by both Stephanie Adams, director of the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech (2005-06 Executive Branch Fellow, National Science Foundation), and Ranyee Chiang, senior technical advisor at the UN Foundation Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (2010-12 Executive Branch Fellow, Department of Energy).  

Donald Steinberg, deputy administrator at USAID, commented on the valuable contributions that fellows make to their host agencies, and how their input transforms science in the government. Maureen McCarthy, president of McCarthy & Smith Consulting (1997-98 Defense Policy Fellow, Department of Defense),  and Alex Dehgan, science and technology advisor to the USAID Administrator (2003-05 Executive Branch Fellow, State Department), concluded the alumni presentations addressing the role of S&T serving the nation and the world. Click here to view Maureen McCarthy's video-taped comments.

The presentations culminated with AAAS CEO Alan Leshner leading the audience in a rousing round of "Happy Birthday." A video of the full program of presentations will be online in the next few months.