Department of Energy, Office of Policy

I was fortunate enough to have spent the past four months with the Office of Policy at the Department of Energy in Washington D.C. This summer was a chance to engage deeply with the science policy work which I have, until now, had to watch from a distance.

The beginning of this internship had me diving right into the deep end. By the end of my time at DOE, I had earned my sea legs and was writing testimonial and high impact briefings, pulling together slide decks and memos for internal use, drafting and giving presentations, and reading and summarizing tax codes and bill text.

I was also deeply lucky to have been present at DOE during the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act; to see the tireless work of so many federal employees come to fruition with such landmark legislation was incredibly moving and only further solidified my passion for public policy.

I am deeply grateful to all of my mentors and colleagues at DOE and at Princeton for a successful summer. I cannot wait for my next chance to engage in public policy.

American Association for the Advancement of Science Session with Princeton Citizen Scientists

Our last PCS event of the academic year was a successful one. PCS members enjoyed the chance to hear more about AAAS programs and their associated application processes. I have heard back from a number of members that the session strengthened their resolve to apply for the fellowship post-graduation. I certainly share the sentiment, myself.

We are infinitely grateful to this team at AAAS for taking time out of their schedules to join us. Professional development events like this one are undeniably critical components of a successful graduate career. This was the perfect way to wrap up a fantastic year for Princeton Citizen Scientists.

2022 D.C. Advocacy Trip

I was thrilled to arrange and lead the 2022 Princeton Citizen Scientists trip to Washington D.C. in tandem with my fantastic co-exec board. In this session, we met with staff at the Library of Congress and the National Academy of Sciences. We got a tour of the premises for the latter, as well. We had a mixer with local science policy professionals, and ended with visits to representatives.

PCS members broke into three groups for the visits – one advocated for STEM education, one for energy policy, and one for solutions to food insecurity. I joined this third group, and got the opportunity to learn and speak about the critical problems posed by (and potential solutions to) food deserts in the United States. Staffers at each senator’s office had vastly different backgrounds and approaches to the conversations – this trip was a great chance to experience The Hill firsthand.

Because of my election to the Graduate Student Government, I will be stepping down as president of Princeton Citizen Scientists next year. I deeply enjoyed the job, and eagerly anticipate the chance to join this trip again next year as a [non-leadership] participant.

Academic Affairs Chair

Now that results have been ratified by the assembly and sent to the student body, I can announce that I was recently elected Academic Affairs Officer to the Princeton Graduate Student Government. This position will be a chance to work on two issues close to my heart, which were the core of my campaign materials: accessibility in funding and graduate student mental health. When requested, I will also serve as a mediator between Princeton students and their deans.

I have already loved the few executive board meetings that I have participated in. I am thrilled to work with such a driven group of passionate Princetonians.

Annual Colloquium

It is always a pleasure to present alongside such impressive colleagues, and a great joy to be a member of such an interdisciplinary program.

Summary Report: The Climate Impact of Congressional Infrastructure and Budget Bills

I am thrilled to have contributed to this collaboration between the ZERO Lab and the REPEAT project and am deeply impressed with the results that the team pulled together. Zenodo publication information is available here.

Successful Wintersession Course

This past week, a few fellow graduate students and I led a course on science policy and science communication. We concluded our course with a panel of faculty experts in academia and advocacy.

One of the materials I created for the class was a worksheet that led students through effective policy communications. This morning, we received the following feedback via email:

“During high school, I was part of my Congresswoman’s Youth Advisory Group and often wrote her letters to ask for her support in different health-related bills. I always had trouble organizing my ideas, and I think the format of the worksheet made it much easier for me to write a letter last night. Instead of focusing on the letter as a whole, I was able to think of each section […] separately. 

“I sent my letter to my representative last night, and I received a response this morning. […] I just wanted to let you know that your workshop truly encouraged me and gave me the skills I needed to contact my representative and advocate for change”.

I am over the moon with the feedback we have gotten so far and am deeply grateful to my co-facilitators and our panelists for the great workshop that we pulled together. I am glad that I was able to contribute to campus life here at Princeton. I am also happy to have driven home the importance of advocacy work as an extension of science. The purpose of STEM studies should not be the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake; using science to advocate for change is what makes research so critically important.

Science Policy Workshop with Deborah Stine

I am looking forward to inviting Dr. Deborah Stine to Princeton for this half-day workshop. Princeton Citizen Scientists will be hosting this event in conjunction with GradFutures – it promises to be a great day for all interested in pursuing policy after Princeton.

USAEE Case Competition

Proud of our team for placing second in this year’s United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) case competition. This year’s prompt meant analyzing the fairest and most feasible means of allocating carbon direct removal (CDR) efforts internationally.

I am admittedly wary of conversations that revolve around CDR, as they can divert attention from the critical emissions mitigation efforts that should come first. CDR is useful if we rely on it to reverse historical emissions; it should not be wielded to delay divestment from fossil fuels. Despite this hesitation, I did enjoy the opportunity to do a deep-dive on the ethics and geographic potential of international CDR efforts. This was a great chance for me to think deeply about fair solutions to international collaboration. And I was thrilled to be able to team up with these colleagues (fellow students) whom I so deeply respect.

Most of my portion of our prize money will go to The Conservation Fund. The Conservation Fund protects America’s natural resources to ‘promote climate resiliency’. This is one of my preferred charitable organizations; it gets an ‘A+’ rating from CharityWatch for its transparent and efficient use of donations.

Wintersession Class

I am proud to have been accepted to teach a Princeton Wintersession class on Science Communication. We formed our curriculum in collaboration with Princeton Insights, an organization that aggregates and summarizes important research coming out of the university. In our class, we will be exploring how to conduct and explain research in order to maximize its public impact and political relevance.

Ethical, fact-based public policy is a core passion of mine. Writing this mini-course has been a great exploration in policy and the research that justifies and underpins it.