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Science and Policy in the Nation's Capitol

For fourteen straight years leading up to the pandemic, the Caltech Y took students to Washington DC to give them an opportunity to explore science and national policy with those who are, or have been, at the heart of this intersection. In 2022, after a year of testing the waters with campus programs and driving trips, we were ready to try our hand at group flights and lodgings, leading us to our much-anticipated return to DC for our 15th trip!



The 2022 Washington DC Science and Policy Trip gave 21 enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students an intimate look at US science policy. Over five days during winter break, students met with policy makers, leading administrators, science advisors, and lobbyists to hear a variety of perspectives on the creation and implementation of science policy. In between the informative and challenging discussion sessions, there were opportunities for cultural exploration, sightseeing, and a chance to witness the Senate at work from the Senate Gallery.


The group visited the Senate for a discussion and tour of the Capitol with Sean Mullin (PhD ’20) - Legislative Assistant to Senator Diane Feinstein; AAAS for dialogue with Joanne Padron Carney - Government Relations Director, and Valda Vinson – Executive Editor, Science Journals; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for discussion with Ben DeAngelo – Deputy Director, Climate Program; and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for interaction with Kei Koizumi – Principal Deputy Director for Policy, Joel Parriott – Assistant Director for Federal R&D, and Sarah Domnitz – Principal Deputy Executive Director, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).



At Friends Place, home base for the week, the group had interactive sessions with Bill Colglazier (PhD ‘71) – former Science Advisor to Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry and former Executive Officer of the National Academies of Science; Mike Nelson (BS ’81) – Senior Fellow, Technology and International Affairs Program with the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, former Science Advisor to Senator/VP Al Gore, former Staff for the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, & Space, and former Director of Technology Policy at the FCC; Heather Dean (BS, MS ’00) – Lead Examiner, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Oliver Stephenson (PhD ’22) – AGI/AAAS Congressional Fellow in Senator Edward Markey’s Office; as well as Michael Ledford – President, and Rebecca Adler Miserendino (BS ’06) – Principal, with Lewis Burke Associates (Caltech’s Lobbying Firm).


It was a successful return to one of the Caltech Y’s most impactful trips!

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