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Webinar: Faculty Make for Excellent Science Policy Fellows

Are you interested in the intersection of your research or teaching with federal policy? Join us for a conversation with three AAAS S&T Policy Fellows who spent a year in Washington. Hear how they navigated the sabbatical or leave of absence process at their institution, and balanced their research, teaching and advising responsibilities during their fellowship.

You’ll also hear from STPF Director (alumna fellow and mathematician) Jennifer Pearl about the mission, purpose and structure of the fellowship. Join us to hear why you should spend a year applying your expertise to policy, building your network, and developing knowledge you can translate into teaching, partnerships, collaboration and research at your institution.



Jennifer Pearl, Director, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships




ConSandra McNeil

ConSandra McNeil, 2018-20 Executive Branch Fellow, National Science Foundation, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. ConSandra McNeil is a second year AAAS Fellow at the National Science Foundation in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Currently, on a Professional Leave of Absence from the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology at Jackson State University with over twenty-years of higher education experience. Her interests are in STEM education and research, minority health disparities, gender disparities, and public health issues.  As a Fellow, she has co-led efforts in evaluating NSF policy on the Term and Condition of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault, assisted with Title XI University site visit; and served on NSF Education and Human Resources Out-Reach Committee for Minority Serving Institutions. At the university level, she has developed public health related projects; served as Co-PI, Senior Personnel, and Evaluator to NSF funded STEM projects; co-taught computational thinking courses with STEM faculty; and was a Program Evaluator for AmeriCorps programs. In addition, she has published manuscripts; presented at national and international conference; served on national review panels; reviewer for national book companies, mainstream journals and served on community health boards. One of her greatest accomplishment was being elected as Vice President of the  Faculty Senate at her University, where she was highly sought out for my leadership in resolving faculty issues that required judgment and sound knowledge of university policies, procedures, and processes. She has one daughter, Kourtney, and grandson Kameron.

Chris Schaffer

Chris Schaffer, 2012-13 The Optical Society & The International Society for Optical Engineering Congressional Fellow, Office of Representative Edward Markey

Chris B. Schaffer is an Associate Professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and his PhD from Harvard University, both in physics, before working as a post-doc in David Kleinfeld’s neuroscience laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. The lab he now jointly runs with Prof. Nozomi Nishimura at Cornell develops advanced optical techniques that enable quantitative imaging and targeted manipulation of individual cells in the central nervous system of rodents and uses such tools to construct a microscopic-scale understanding of normal and disease-state physiological processes in the brain. One area of current focus is understanding the role of brain blood flow disruptions in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Chris is also active in developing novel educational strategies to teach science as a dynamic process for discovery that are used in outreach settings in middle and high-school science classes as well as in college-level courses and international student exchange programs. Chris also has a strong interest in science policy and spent a year in Washington, DC as a science policy fellow in the office of Senator Edward Markey. He continues to be active in policy, including through a science policy course he teaches. Chris is an accomplished surfer, having ridden waves all over the world and surfed some “big wave” spots, including greater than 20 ft. waves at Todos Santos, Mexico.

Jessica Libertini

Jessica Libertini, 2018-19 Executive Branch Fellow, U.S. Dept. of Defense, Office of the Director of International Cooperation

Dr. Jessica M. Libertini holds advanced degrees in both mechanical engineering and applied mathematics.  Prior to beginning her academic career, she spent nine years in the defense industry working on projects ranging from submarines to satellites.  She has held faculty positions at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the University of Rhode Island, and currently, Virginia Military Institute.  Her primary research focus is on STEM education at the undergraduate level, and she also is actively involved in disciplinary research in mathematical modeling, including work in global food systems and nutrition security.


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