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S&T Policy Career Workshop Stresses
Study Abroad, Internships, Networking
It was 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, yet Norman Neureiter, the featured speaker and the US State Departmentís Science and Technology Adviser, had no trouble attracting several dozen young professionals interested in careers in science and technology policy. The session was a part of "The Local and the Global: A Workshop for the Rising Generation of Science, Engineering, and Technology (SE&T) Policy Professionals," sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a group of academic partners.
"(Science) and technology experts need to understand the interaction between science and public policy in order to work with other governments and government agencies to develop cooperation and improve development," Neureiter told his audience. "The interaction between corporations and international countries is extensive, and young professionals are acting as ambassadors, representing the presence of the corporation in the international sector."
As issues of science and technology begin to play an ever greater role in negotiations between different governments, and between governments and other public and private institutions, the need for a workforce equipped with the tools and training necessary to negotiate this relationship becomes greater than ever, Neureiter said. It was a theme that was repeated throughout the three-day workshop held at AAAS from 12-14 April 2002, in an effort to provide a career forum for a new generation of professionals in S&T policy.
"The Local and the Global: A Workshop for the Rising Generation of Science, Engineering, and Technology Policy Professionals" kicked off on Friday evening with a networking reception. More than 100 students and young professionals mingled with established policy experts from academia established professionals, asking questions and exchanging ideas on the future of science and technology policy careers.
Sponsored also by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, George Washington University and George Mason University, the workshop included plenary and breakout sessions led by seasoned S&T professionals, and sessions devoted to the presentation of scholarly papers by graduate students on timely S&T policy issues.
Speakers told the participants that each generation of S&T specialists would have to find a way to communicate with colleagues. Like Neureiter, many of them recommended study abroad as key to good training in science policy, noting that advances in technology and the globalization of science would make the development of good policy all the more challenging.
"People in policy need to understand how science is done and the networks used to gather information," said David Guston of Rutgers University. He went on to emphasize that young people interested in careers in science and policy should avidly pursue internships and fellowships.
"My first job was the summer between my junior and senior year of college when I interned here at AAAS with Al Teich. I havenít been able to get out of the science policy arena since," Guston admitted with a laugh.
Neureiter added, "The internship is a wonderful opportunity to get into an organization, work and get a feeling for what it would be like."
The workshop, which followed the 27th Annual AAAS Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy, was open to the public at the AAAS. For more information, visit http://www.aaas.org/spp/nextgen or e-mail email@example.com.