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Five, Count 'em, Five, John Bahcall Public Policy Fellows!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 16:50

The current and former AAS John N. Bahcall Public Policy Fellows gathered for lunch with Neta Bahcall, supporter of the fellowship program, in late March. Shown standing (left to right) are Bethany Johns, Anita Krishnamurthi, Neta Bahcall, Josh Shiode, Marcos Huerta, and Jeremy Richardson. The fellowship program provides a postdoc-level position at the AAS Executive Office working in the public policy arena. The Fellows are responsible for a wide range of activities, including organization and execution of our annual Congressional Visits Day, representing the AAS at key coalition meetings, keeping up to date on current policy issues, and informing the AAS membership and the broader astronomical community about current policy matters.

Each of the past four fellows have found work in the public policy arena: Jeremy Richardson works with the Union of Concerned Scientists; Marcos Huerta serves as Special Assistant to the Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science; Anita Krishnamurthi is Vice-President for STEM Policy at the Afterschool Alliance and just completed the Noyce Foundation Leadership Institute; and Bethany Johns is Science Policy Manager for the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America. All have found their positions engaging and mentally stimulating and agreed that the Bahcall Fellowship allowed them to bridge from science to policy as a career direction.

Discussion over lunch ranged from the importance of STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math) in early education, through the impact of the Cosmos television series, to stories Neta shared of John Bahcall’s tireless advocacy along with Lyman Spitzer for the Hubble Space Telescope and for the priorities of the Bahcall survey, the decadal survey for the 1990s.

The AAS thanks Neta Bahcall for her continued support of the fellowship program and for developing the concept originally. The Society, the astronomical sciences, and the Bahcall Fellows themselves have all benefited from her generosity and foresight. Thanks, Neta!

Kevin B. Marvel
Executive Officer
American Astronomical Society
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