2024 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellow

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Dr. Kathleen Chen

Alumna Dr. Kathleen Chen (Ph.D. ’23 Rowat group) has been named a 2024 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellow, serving on the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.

Chen received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry from UCLA in 2023 with Professor Amy Rowat (UCLA Integrative Biology and Physiology). During her graduate studies, where she focused on advancing sustainable and climate-resilient food systems, she also co-authored two research papers with Professor Heather Maynard and her group.

Now celebrating its 15th year, the California Council on Science and Technology (CSST) Science & Technology Policy Fellows program places Ph.D. level scientists, engineers, and social scientists in Legislative and Executive Branch offices, training them for careers in public policy while helping to equip California’s decision makers with science-savvy staff.

The 14 Ph.D. scientists arrived in Sacramento in November 2023, where they participated in the CCST annual policy training program — a crash course on the process, history, and landscape of California policymaking, as well as skills development and communications workshops to prepare them for the intense, dynamic pace of the Capitol policy world.

Fellows placed in the California State Legislature work on policy committees and in member offices in the California State Senate and Assembly. Fellows placed in the Executive Branch work in California State Agencies and in offices of the Governor. The program is made possible by the State of California as well as continued philanthropic support.

CCST is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established via the California State Legislature in 1988. They engage leading experts in science and technology to advise State policymakers – ensuring that California policy is strengthened and informed by scientific knowledge, research, and innovation. Discover how CCST makes California’s policies stronger with science at www.ccst.us.  

According to Chen, applications are still open for the next cohort until March 1, 2024. The eligibility information, program timeline, and application link can be found here.

Previous students to receive this honor include graduate student Andrew Dawson (Tolbert group), who was named a 2022 CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellow, and served on the Senate Housing Committee.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.