A chemist at the intersection of science and policy
Feb24

A chemist at the intersection of science and policy

Profile: Stefanie Bumpus (Ph.D., 2010), AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow Today I’d like to introduce you to a Ph.D. chemist who is currently a Science & Technology (S&T) Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)—Stefanie Bumpus. Stefanie has been working for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as an S&T Fellow since September 2010. Day to day, Stefanie’s work varies considerably—it all depends on what assignment she has at the time. Some days she is working on building good working relationships with U.S. Government and international partners and collaborators. “This includes things such as conducting meetings to discuss planned or ongoing projects, or working to develop strategic documents for the program,” Stefanie says. There are four different concentration areas of the fellowship: Congressional Health, Education, and Human Services Diplomacy, Security, and Development Energy, Environment, and Agriculture. As an S&T policy fellow on the Diplomacy, Security, and Development track at the DoD, Stefanie supports the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs (NCB). Within the NCB, Stefanie is currently doing a rotation in the Office of Threat Reduction and Arms Control (TRAC). As a part of this rotation, she supports a program that “works to ensure international partner governments have the capacity to detect, report, and respond to biological incidents as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Stefanie says. At the TRAC office, one of Stefanie’s roles is to work with the partner governments to “ensure laboratories and other facilities maintain the highest sustainable levels of biosafety and biosecurity,” she explains. One of Stefanie’s favorite parts of her job thus far is being able to travel the world. “Typically, I spend about one week per month traveling to Africa to meet with our partners and collaborators and continue to develop our programs,” Stefanie says. So far, she has traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Djibouti, and South Africa, as well as the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and numerous locations throughout the U.S. Before becoming a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow Stefanie got her Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and then went on to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry (2010) from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Coming out of high school, her initial plan was to study chemistry or biology and then go to med school. But in college, she met a “wonderful professor in the chemistry department,” and was convinced to major in chemistry and do undergraduate research in biochemistry. “Three years of undergraduate research helped me learn I didn’t really want to go to medical school, but instead wanted to pursue an advanced degree...

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Opportunities for chemists in science policy
Feb23

Opportunities for chemists in science policy

Here at JAEP we’ve been on the topic of government jobs for chemists. Glen wrote a post about a website, INSPIRE, that is full of information about government jobs for scientists. It is being piloted for a short time, so if you haven’t yet, check it out here and take the survey to help them improve the site. And earlier this week, I introduced you to Olen Stephens, a Ph.D. chemist who works for the FDA in regulatory affairs. Today, we will segue a bit and discuss the field of science policy. What is science policy? Science policy is a field that is difficult to define because it encompasses lots of different types of work at the intersection of science and public policy. I’ll use an excerpt from an article I found by Geoffrey Hunt to break the common misconceptions about science policy: “Most people assume policymakers spend all of their time furtively hammering out laws in back rooms. In reality, those working in science policy have the opposite job: They take what is happening on the bench and bring it to the light of day… Science policy experts …[use] their talents to find ways to translate esoteric, often highly technical scientific issues into something that can be sold as good policy.” For more information on science policy careers, check out the following Science Careers articles: Science Policy: Establishing Guidelines, Setting Priorities, by Laura Haak. Paths to Science Policy, by James Austin. Bridging the Worlds of Science and Public Policy, by Andrew Fazekas. There are several organizations that sponsor scientists and engineers to work in science policy—check out this list of policy fellowships compiled at The Intersection, a blog for Discover Magazine. One of these organizations, which I'll highlight here, is the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology (S&T) Policy Fellowships. Tomorrow I'll follow up with a profile post about a Ph.D. chemist who's currently an S&T Policy Fellow at the United States Department of Defense, so stay tuned for that! AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship AAAS started up the fellowship program in 1973 to help scientists get the opportunity “to participate in and contribute to the federal policymaking process while learning firsthand about the intersection of science and policy,” according to their website. To date, more than 2,000 scientists and engineers have gone through the program. Check out their website for a complete overview of the history of the fellowship. To apply, you must have a Ph.D. or an equivalent doctoral-level degree, or have a Master’s degree in engineering with several years of professional experience. Click here for more details about eligibility and the...

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