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Five Questions with Adriana Bankston, Membership Engagement Chair for Section X (Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering)

As part of our modernized volunteer governance structure, we now have Membership Engagement Chairs for all 24 sections to support two-way communication with Section members and help grow Section membership. These chairs serve two-year terms as members of their Section Steering Committee.

woman in black blazer and glasses
AAAS Member Adriana Bankston.

Adriana Bankston is the Membership Engagement Chair for Section X, Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering, and is serving until the end of 2023. Learn more about her professional experience and what she is most excited about in her role below! 

1. Please share a little bit about yourself. Where do you live and where do you work? What is your official title/job?

I am currently a Senior Fellow in Civic Science & Public Policy with Sigma Xi, where I lead a project that examines science policy engagement at the state level and determines the skills, knowledge, and resources required by scientists to successfully influence public policy. I am also the CEO & Managing Publisher of the Journal of Science Policy & Governance, a former Fellow with Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS), and a Biomedical Workforce & Policy Research Investigator at the STEM Advocacy Institute. In 2022, I was awarded the inaugural ARIS Emerging Broader Impacts Leader Award and named among the Top 20 Advocacy practitioners by the Advocacy Association. I earned my Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University. Read more here.

2. How did you get into your current discipline of science?

I transitioned from bench research into science policy and advocacy through several non-profit organizations and scientific societies, where I focused on improving academia to support the next generation of scientists by several mechanisms. These include publishing on academic issues including mentoring and career development (with Future of Research) and advocating for the future of research on Capitol Hill (with Society for Neuroscience and UC Federal Governmental Relations). Additionally, I have worked on developing trainings for early career scientists in policy and advocacy, and more recently engaged in consulting work to broaden the reach of my expertise to various stakeholders.

3. What excites you the most about being a Section Engagement Chair and why?

As Section X Membership Engagement Chair, I am excited to connect more early career scientists with the policymaking process, to help them showcase the value of their research in society, and to encourage them to get involved in policy. The Steering Committee as a whole seeks to provide opportunities for Section X members to participate in AAAS Annual Meeting sessions and virtual events on topics of interest which we are looking to organize in the coming months and into next year.

4. What’s the last book or TV show you couldn’t put down (or stop watching?)

Two things have really impacted my life and career recently in a positive way. The last book I read, which is “Think like a monk” by Jay Shetty, highlights useful skills and tactics to deal with obstacles and challenges in life as they arise in a very practical sense. Additionally, I attended a virtual retreat with the British life coach, Matthew Hussey, a great opportunity to examine and take steps towards designing your ideal life. I recommend both of these resources for personal and professional development.

5. What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?

Currently I enjoy walking my dogs in the city including taking them to the local dog park. I have also engaged more with my interest in art and interior design by decorating my apartment, and I am looking to get back into my baking habit and making that more creative. Finally, I have taken up a new hobby which is making jewelry and this also brings out my creative side and allows me to relax after a long day.


Wendy Li

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