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Chat with Fellows: Ask Questions to Learn How You Can Be a Policy Fellow

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Are you interested in connecting your background in engineering, computer science and/or math to public policy? Want to transform your career by using your training to address societal challenges? This is your chance to ask questions and learn more about the fellowships.  

Hear how engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians have enhanced policy and transformed their career path through a one-year public service and professional development fellowship in science policy.   

Join us on July 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a one-hour live chat session where you'll learn how fellows impact policy initiatives on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, and the judicial branch -- and how you can apply your science and engineering background to transform your career. Have your questions answered by fellows and chat with S&T program staff about the application process and requirements.

The "Enhancing Policy, Transforming Careers: Chat Series with S&T Policy Fellows” is a series of live text and video chat sessions with current and alumni fellows. Interact with fellows and fellowship staff and learn about the impact policy fellows have been making for over 42 years. 

Chat Partcipants:


Elizabeth Burrows, PhD, 2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow, National Science Foundation

Elizabeth is currently in her first year as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at National Science Foundation (NSF).  She is a fellow in the Big Data & Analytics track, working on a range of projects related to math-science co-funding and government-wide efforts related to Big Data.  Prior to this position she worked for 2.5 years at a biofuels startup company in Massachusetts, called Joule Unlimited. Because of her interdisciplinary background, she served as the liaison between the Biology and Bioprocessing departments at Joule.  This included mainly lab work in both departments, but also outdoor, scale-up work at the pilot plant.  

During graduate school, Elizabeth also completed an ecosystem informatics minor as part of an NSF Integrative Graduate Education & Research Traineeship fellowship program.  This minor directly followed from her previous position at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, studying the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems, mainly at Harvard Forest in Massachusetts.  She also s worked at Harvard Forest for 2.5 years upon completion of her Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College, where she conducted research on the carbon budget of wetlands. Her interests span from microbiology to macro-scale ecosystem modeling, with a goal of reducing human’s environmental impact.  

She received her PhD in biological and ecological engineering at Oregon State University. 

Issel Lim, PhD, 2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow, National Institutes of Health

Issel is a biomedical engineer whose expertise revolves around image acquisition, analysis, and applications. She is a S&T Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with her first year at the National Institute of Mental Health, with a detail and her second year at the NIH Office of the Director in the Office of Extramural Research. Her current projects include redesigning, developing congressional reports, and implementing policies to enhance reproducibility of scientific research through rigor and transparency.

Her interests include research training/education and scientific communication. Issel chairs the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships FIRE Affinity Group to promote innovative program evaluation. She also develops creative communication through her freelance design company, Quirky Ink, LLC, where she builds websites, customizes graphics, edits various types of writing.

Issel holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. For her postdoctoral research, she supervised clinical MRI studies of neurodegeneration and psychiatric diseases at the Johns Hopkins University and the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD. 


Steven Sinha, PhD 2009-10 Executive Branch Fellow, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010-11 U.S, Department of State

Steven is a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary for Management & Resources at the State Department, working to transform culture, technology, human processes, and governance to improve knowledge management across the Department.  Prior to this, he was a Senior Advisor to the Coordinator for Cyber Issues at State, leading strategic planning.  As a AAAS S&T Policy fellow, he spent a year at the Department of Homeland Security working on Chem/Bio/Rad/Nuke policy, followed by two years on the China Desk at the State Department working primarily on cyber and investment policy. 

Steven designs and operationalizes strategies for organizations to achieve complex goals and developed his skills while advancing the goals of the federal government (Departments of State and Homeland Security), political campaigns (Obama), large (IBM) and start-up (Kosmix) companies, and academia (Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon).

Steven earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley.


Salaeha Shariff, Director of Recruitment, AAAS S&T Policy Fellowship Program

Salaeha directs recruitment cultivation, national outreach activities, and diversity enhancement for the S&T Policy Fellowships. She plans and manages annual marketing efforts, oversees advertising, and engages with scientists and engineers in initiatives to promote careers at the intersection of science and policy.

View other upcoming and archived chat sessions in this series.

The AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships are open to doctoral level degree holders in any of the following:

  • Medical and Health sciences
  • Biological, Physical or Earth sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Computational sciences and Mathematics
  • Engineering disciplines (applicants with a MS in engineering and three years of professional experience also qualify).

Read an overview of S&T Policy Fellowships here, so we’ll have more time to answer specific questions relevant to you.