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Smith embarking on AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship

Starting this fall, Emily Smith will be learning first-hand about policy making in Washington, D.C., as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Technology and Policy Fellow. Smith, an Iowa State University professor of chemistry and Ames Lab associate, is one of approximately 150 scientists and engineers selected this year for the prestigious program.

The AAAS fellowship program, which was established in 1973, connects science and policy by developing a network of science and engineering leaders who understand government and policymaking. AAAS fellows are able to implement solutions to address societal challenges.

Smith earned the honor following a lengthy application and review process.

“I was named a finalist in the spring, at which point I travelled to Washington, D.C.,” Smith explained. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience … I interviewed with 12 government offices and agencies, including the Department of Energy, the State Department, and the Department of Defense. Ultimately, I chose a position with the DOE, as it aligns with my own expertise in energy research.”

Smith will be applying her knowledge and scientific skills in the policy realm during a one-year appointment with DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences (BES). Additionally, she will direct her efforts to boosting diversity and inclusion in scientific fields.

“While there are efforts to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in scientific fields, representation in research administration is lacking,” Smith said. “This fellowship experience will point the way for me to help establish policies that have a positive effect, and I will bring this experience with me when I return to Iowa State.”

During her year-long fellowship, Smith will be on a professional development assignment from ISU. She will continue to advise her students and will participate remotely with her research group and the chemistry department.

Smith will be located in Germantown, Maryland, a northwest suburb of Washington, D.C., and will also travel regularly to AAAS headquarters for meetings and workshops. Smith’s fellowship begins Sept. 4.