News: News Archives
Federal Agency Recognizes Contributions
of Four AAAS Diplomacy Fellows
Every year, AAAS sends a group of engineers and scientists to work on international policy issues in four federal agenciesthe U.S. Department of State, the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In 2003, the state department thought so highly of the fellows it hosted, that four of them were awarded plaques to recognize their contributions to the work of the agency.
"The fellows have brought a new way of looking at issuesapplying their skills honed in a scientific career to problems seen largely as economic or political ones, but which often involve technical topics," says Norman Neureiter, who is stepping down this month after three years as Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State.
Karla B. Heidelberg, a biological oceanographer and a fellow in the Office of Oceans Affairs, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), received a Superior Honor Award for her, "outstanding performance as a AAAS Fellow…especially with regard to her efforts in the areas of invasive species, ballast water and the prevention of marine pollution."
Toral Patel-Weynand, an ecosystem ecologist, specializes in climate change issues and worked in the Office of Global Change, also within OES. She was recognized with a Meritorious Honor Award for her "exceptional dedication and sustained excellence in advancing the administration's bilateral and multilateral climate change agenda."
Melissa Flagg, a natural products chemist, received a Superior Honor Award for her "outstanding efforts to advance the mission of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of Statein particular, to increase S&T capacity in the Department, strengthen outreach to the scientific community, and promote bilateral S&T cooperationand for her superior contributions to the Interagency Panel on Advanced Science and Security to define a strategy for maintenance of, and balance between, open academic borders and national security requirements after September 11, 2001."
Ranjan Gupta, a molecular biologist, was given a Meritorious Honor Award, and cited for "outstanding efforts to advance the mission of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State in particular, to foster S&T cooperation with India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, advance relations with international organizations like UNESCO, and strengthen e-diplomacy and outreach for the Office."
Asked what he had thought of his experience at the state department, Gupta said it had opened up many opportunities and taught him new ways of resolving problems.
"The AAAS Diplomacy Fellowship at the State Department brought to me a wealth of knowledge and information that would otherwise have remained unknown," said Gupta, who has started a second AAAS fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. "Despite its complexities, I realized that the government brought power and prestige by which a lot of good could be done."
The four honorees each served two years at the state department. Flagg is staying on another year as an employee.
The AAAS Diplomacy Fellowships, one of 10 science and technology fellowship programs that AAAS operates, provide an opportunity to learn how science is used in the world of foreign affairs. They also allow scientists and engineers to contribute to the more effective use of technical knowledge in the making of foreign policy.
A prospective fellow must be a good communicator, and extraordinarily well-qualified in at least one area of science or engineering. He or she must also be aware of the many ways in which technical issues are relevant to foreign policy.
Applications are invited from individuals in any physical, biological, or social science, any field of engineering or any relevant interdisciplinary field. All applicants must have a PhD or an equivalent doctoral-level degree by the application deadline (January 10, 2004). Individuals with a master's degree in engineering and at least three years of post-degree professional experience may apply. All applicants must be U.S. citizens. Federal employees are not eligible.
10 September 2003