John Bahcall Public Policy Fellowship
The John N. Bahcall Public Policy Fellowship was created in 2006, in collaboration with Neta Bahcall, to provide an opportunity for early-career astronomers to gain experience in the world of science policy and to augment the advocacy programs of the society. The Bahcall Fellowship is currently a one-year postdoctoral level appointment, renewable for a second year.
The Fellow works in partnership with the Director of Public Policy to coordinate the public policy activities of the AAS. Responsibilities include:
- Direct advocacy for issues in the astronomical sciences with Congress, the Administration, and others
- Building and maintaining relationships with key policy people related to the astronomical sciences (Congressional staff, White House staff, federal agency staff, National Academies, etc.)
- Supporting the work of the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy (CAPP), Division policy committees, and Society and Division leadership
- Coordination of multiple Congressional visits days for groups of AAS members
- Coordination of educational briefings and exhibitions on Capitol Hill
- Drafting of congressional testimony, letters to policymakers, AAS Board resolutions, and advocacy materials
- Developing and implementing policy sessions for AAS annual meetings
- Authorship of the AAS Policy Blog, policy-related AAS social media, and AAS Action Alerts and Informational Emails
- Delivering invited colloquium talks at college/university departments and other institutions around the country
- Representing the AAS in a number of science and technology coalitions, including taking on occasional leadership roles for special events or initiatives
- Attendance at policy-related events: receptions, Congressional hearings, coalition meetings, conferences, briefings, advisory committee meetings, colloquia, etc.
- Monitoring developments across the astronomical science community in major scientific results, priorities, challenges, and concerns that relate to federal policies and funding
Applications for the 2019 Bahcall Fellowship are currently being accepted. The deadline is 1 March.
Questions about the position should be sent electronically and addressed to:
Director of Public Policy & Deputy Executive Officer
Additional Science policy fellowships are listed here.
Ashlee Wilkins began her term as the seventh Bahcall Fellow in September 2017, shortly after defending her doctoral thesis from the University of Maryland Department of Astronomy, directed by Professor Drake Deming. Ashlee studies the atmospheres of transiting giant exoplanets and, as she discussed in her first post on the AAS Policy Blog, she has also harbored an interest in policy from a young age. In graduate school, she helped found, and then later lead, the GRAD-MAP physics and astronomy diversity initiative, was elected to serve as Vice President of Academic Affairs of the Graduate Student Government, and took advantage of UMD's proximity to Washington to attend occasional Congressional hearings and participate in the 2016 AAS Congressional Visits Day.
As the Society's Bahcall Fellow, Ashlee hopes to continue the excellent work her predecessors have done to keep members informed and engaged with the policy process at many levels and on the varied issues that impact our ability to effectively practice, educate, and communicate astronomical, planetary, and solar sciences. She is also eager to serve as a source of information and connection to the scientific community for policymakers in Washington and is committed to being an advocate for policies and practices that reflect community needs and priorities.
Current Position: Assistant Director of Federal Relations, Vanderbilt University
Heather Bloemhard joined the AAS as the sixth John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow in September 2015, shortly after completing her PhD in Physics at the New Mexico Institute for Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico. For her dissertation, she worked with Professor Michelle Creech-Eakman on the characterization of transiting exoplanets. While at New Mexico Tech Heather was involved with the graduate student government, which, as described in her first post on the AAS Policy Blog, served as her introduction to policy. As a member and officer of the graduate student government, Heather worked to enhance the travel grant program, advocated for improvements to the graduate student experience, and represented the interests of graduate students with the administration. As the sixth Fellow, Heather continued the hard work of previous fellows supporting the astronomical sciences and advocating for the decadal survey priorities, improved science budgets, and effective research policies. This included continuing the expansion of early-career involvement in programs like Congressional Visits Day, working with AAS members to establish a regular “Space on the Hill” seminar series, and traveling to numerous research and higher education institutions to meet with members. Heather also expanded the available tools for AAS members to learn about advocating for their science, including resources for all levels of interest. After the Bahcall Fellowship, Heather moved to an AAAS Executive Branch Fellow in the Department of Defense's Laboratory Office to get some experience on the government-side of the table. This office develops policies and strategies that overarch all of the DoD laboratories. In particular, Heather worked with policies related to infrastructure, personnel, technology transfer, and STEM education. Heather is currently the Assistant Director of Federal Relations at Vanderbilt University, where she supports university-based research, polices related to higher education, and other federal policies that impact Vanderbilt, such as tax and high-skilled immigration.
|Joshua H. Shiode
Current Position: Federal Affairs Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Joshua (Josh) joined the AAS in late August 2013 by way of Boston University, for his undergraduate studies, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed his PhD studying the unstable evolution of massive stars with Prof. Eliot Quataert. As he detailed in his initial blog post at the AAS Policy Blog, Josh began his journey toward a career beyond academia over the last few years of his graduate work. At Berkeley he explored his interests in teaching and communicating science to a broad audience through his work with the Berkeley Compass Project and writing and editing for The Berkeley Science Review.
As the fifth John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow, Josh focused his energies on building bridges between the astronomical science and policy communities through writing, speaking, and member-focused programs. During his tenure, Josh was a leader in elevating the participation of students and early career scientists in AAS’s annual Congressional Visits Day and organized the Society’s first congressional briefings on the astronomical sciences in over a decade. Josh also joined with colleagues at the American Geophysical Union and the Aerospace Industries Association to spearhead the formation of a broad-based NASA advocacy coalition, now known as the Coalition for Aerospace and Science, and he was a community-wide leader in advocating for reforms to burdensome government travel and conference policies which have significantly impacted the AAS community’s ability to collaborate effectively.
Upon leaving the AAS in March 2015, Josh joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science as Senior Government Relations Officer, where he is a leader of the Golden Goose Award and continues to pursue proactive science policy work on an even broader range of science and technology policy issues.
Current Position: Government Relations, American Institute of Physics
Bethany Johns became the fourth John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow in September 2010. In 2010, Bethany obtained her Ph.D. in Physics, as well as working in policy studies, from Clemson University. During her time at Clemson, Bethany served as the graduate student government senator representing the Physics and Astronomy Department, enhanced a graduate student professional development grant program and was a founding member of the South Caroline Graduate Professional Alliance.
While at the AAS, Bethany managed the public policy activities including, creating and managing a federal and local grassroots advocacy program designed to work with association members to effectively communicate with policy makers and successfully leading a coalition, working with Congressional leaders, and drafting legislation to secure millions of federal dollars appropriated for the restarting domestic production of Plutonium-238 as a fuel source for planetary exploration.
Bethany has consulted for commercial space companies and worked as the Science Policy Manager for the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Sciences Society of America. Bethany currently works in Government Relations for the American Institute of Physics (AIP) managing the government relations advocacy services and administering tailored, nuanced strategies to educate, inform and constructively influence policy and policy-makers.
Current Position: Strategic Advisor, University of Cambridge Office of External Affairs and Communications
Anita Krishnamurthi became the third John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow in September 2009. She received her PhD from The Ohio State University in May 1997, subsequently serving in a number of different positions from a postdoctoral researcher at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics from 1997-2000, to a position at the National Academy of Sciences as a program officer with the Office on Public Understanding of Science from 2001-2003 to a Program Planning Specialist position at NASA Headquarters, culminating in a position at Goddard Spaceflight Center as the Education and Public Outreach Lead for the Astrophysics Science Division. During her education and throughout her career, Anita became sensitized to the growing disconnect between the sophistication and importance of modern science and the lack of appreciation and understanding of that science by the general public. This partially motivated her to apply for the Bahcall fellowship.
As the third Bahcall fellow, Anita enhanced the public policy programs of the Society while bringing a renewed focus on education policy.
Anita left the AAS in May 2010 to take up a position with the Afterschool Alliance as its Director of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Policy, a newly created position. She was promoted to Vice President of STEM Policy in 2013. Anita recently left the Afterschool Alliance in preparation for a move to the University of Cambridge in the UK, where she will be serving as a Strategic Advisor in the university's Office of External Affairs and Communications.
Recent Position: Senior Advisor, Office of Science, US Department of Energy
Marcos Huerta became the second John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow in February 2008. He received his PhD from Rice University in May 2007, and was a Post Doc at the University of Florida Astronomy Department. His research focused on star formation, star formation regions, and young stellar objects. As a graduate student, Marcos worked on policy issues at the university level; serving in the Graduate Student Association and working on improving health insurance and parking permits for students.
As the second Bahcall fellow, and the first to serve for over a year, Marcos started a variety of new policy initiatives at the AAS. Most notably, he launched the AAS Public Policy Blog, as well as integrated its updates into the main AAS site. Also during his tenure, the AAS began its Local Visits Day program — coordinating visits of astronomers to their local congressional offices during the summer recess.
Marcos left the AAS in August 2009 to become the AIP/AVS Congressional science fellow — he spent a year working in the House of Representatives as part of the larger AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow program. From 2011-2017, Marcos served in the Obama Administration in the Director’s Office of the Office of Science at the US Department of Energy. As senior advisor, he worked on a variety of topics and special projects for the director including updating the DOE scientific integrity policy, the ITER international fusion project, and COMPETES act reauthorization.
|L. Jeremy Richardson
Current Position: Senior Energy Analyst, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
As the first John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow, Jeremy Richardson coordinated public policy and government relations activities for the AAS, tracked federal funding for astronomy research, and led grass-roots lobbying efforts. Previously, Jeremy spent over six years at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (three as a graduate student from the University of Colorado and three as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow), where he characterized the atmospheric properties of an extrasolar planet, both theoretically and observationally. His research culminated in the first observed emission spectrum of an extrasolar planet and revealed tantalizing evidence for the composition of the planet's atmosphere. A physicist by training, Jeremy decided to refocus his professional efforts on policy solutions to the climate change problem.
Following his tenure as the Bahcall Fellow, he was selected as the 2007-08 AAAS Roger Revelle Fellow in Global Stewardship. The Revelle Fellowship is focused exclusively on issues related to global stewardship and provides an opportunity to work on the Hill, an Executive Branch agency, or even a nonprofit or NGO. Jeremy was also a senior fellow for science policy at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Jeremy is now a Senior Energy Analyst in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, conducting analytical work on the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon regulations and other areas of energy research. He is continuing his research on economic diversification in his native West Virginia that he began while in his previous position as the program’s Kendall Science Fellow.