SSB Space Policy Interns 1992-2012
Physics and Astronomy High School Teacher, Corning, NY
Carleton College (MN)
Research Physical Scientist, Agricultural Research Service Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, USDA, Beltsville, MD
Carleton College (MN)
Dentist, Office of Drs. Piartovi & Kianpour, Sterling, VA
Grinnell College (IA)
Christopher Des Autels
Senior Meterologist, TRC: Atmospheric Studies Group, Medford, MA
U. of Pennsylvania (PA)
SVP of Sales Engineering & Consulting Services, Mcafee
Patent Examiner – Chemist
US Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA
Bryn Mawr College (PA)
Cornell University (NY)
Earth and Planetary Science
Graduate student, Molecular Biology Inter-Departmental Program at UCLA
U. of So. California (CA)
Princeton University (NJ)
History of Science
Yale University (CT)
Washington University in St. Louis (MO)
Earth and Planetary Sciences/ Environmental Studies
Visiting Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology
Dickinson College (PA)
Political Science/ Physics
Harvard University (MA)
Augsburg College (MN)
Senior Policy Analyst, Governor Napolitano's Innovation America Initiative, National Governors Association
University of Colorado at Boulder (CO)
Government Affairs Manager, Space Exploration Technologies, Inc.
University of Virginia (VA)
Johns Hopkins University (MD)
Ph.D. student, Australian National University & Mt. Stromlo Observatory
Australian National University, AU
Graduate Student, Washington University
Yale University (CT)
Undergraduate student, Mathematics & Statistics Department, American University
American University (DC)
LLOYD V. BERKNER SPACE POLICY INTERNS
Undergraduate student, Department of Political Science, University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras
University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (PR)
Undergraduate student, Department of English Language & Literature, Smith College
Smith College (MA)
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Associate Program Officer, National Research Council
| 2008||George Washington University (DC)|| Space Policy|
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Graduate Student, University of California, Santa Cruz
| 2009|| Cornell University (NY)|| Physics|
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|Jordan Bock|| 2009|| Harvard University (MA)|| Physics Astrophysics|
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|Elena Amadour|| 2009|| UC Santa Cruz (CA)|| Earth Science|
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|2010|| Iowa State (IA)||Aerospace Engineering, Political Science |
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|Dara Fisher||2010||University of Michigan (MI)||Earth System Science Engineering |
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|Gabriele Betancourt-Martinez |
Graduate Student, University of Maryland
|2010||Yale University (CN)||Astronomy and Physics|
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The Tauri Group
|2010||University of Florida ( FL)||History of Science|
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|Katie Daud ||2011||Bloomsburg University (PA)||Political Science, Geoscience, Planetary Science |
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|Rachael Alexandroff ||2011||Princeton University (NJ)||Astrophysics |
Graduate Student, California Institute of Technology
|2011||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|| Physics|
|2012||Mississippi State University|| Aerospace Engineering|
|2012||Claremont McKenna College|| Physics and government|
Graduate Student, California Institute of Technology
|2012||Yale University||Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Geophysics|
|F. Harrison Dreves|
Communications Associate, NRC
|2013||Vanderbilt University||Science Communications|
|2013||Utah State University||Space Physics|
|2013||James Madison University||History of Science|
|Evan Linck ||2014||Yale University||Physics|
|Ian Szumila ||2014||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Physics, Geology|
|Jesse D. Lively ||2014||American University||Law|
|Angela Dapremont ||2014||College of Charleston||Geo|
|Michelle Thompson ||2014||University of Arizona||Planetary Science|
Interns featured in the SSB Newsletter articles
Craig Herbold, our SSB summer intern, is a student at the University of Southern California working on bachelors degrees in biology and environmental studies-chemistry; he will graduate in May 2000. Craig has participated in several research projects including: 16s ribosomal DNA isolation, sequencing and phylogenetic classification under Dr. Jed Fuhrman, University of Southern California; Intraspecific Facilitation/ Ecological Stoichiometry of oligotrophic lakes in the Canadian Shield under Dr. Jim Elser, Arizona State University; and Biology/Surface Interactions - studies of bacterial adhesion and surface mediated protein unfolding under Dr. Steve Goheen, Battelle - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Before coming to the SSB, Craig spent five weeks in Roseburg, Oregon collecting salmonid data for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Craig Cornelius has joined the SSB staff as our summer intern. Craig is in the Class of 2001 at Princeton University, where he is studying the pre-Shuttle era of the U.S. space program. Under the auspices of a major in History of Science, past research projects have been advised by Dr. Angela Creager (History), Dr. Edgar Choueiri (EPPDyL) and Dr. Jeremy Kasdin (MAE). Those include: a study of solar power satellite concepts in their legal context; an examination of orbital operations concepts and mission objectives in the Gemini Program; an assessment of developing microthruster designs based on electrical propulsion; and, the design of a 3-D stereoscopic imaging satellite for agricultural applications. Prior to his arrival at the SSB, Craig worked on science and technology policy in the office of Rep. Richard Gephardt, before spending last summer at The Wexler Group representing the interests of companies including Venturestar and Spacehab in matters ranging from export controls to loan guarantees. Part of Craig's time here in Washington will also be spent at the NASA archives, where he will be doing primary research for a senior thesis that will examine NASA's strategic planning at the end of the Apollo era.
Craig Cornelius completed an assignment in August as the SSB's summer undergraduate intern. He came to the NRC after completing his junior year at Princeton University, and he returns to Princeton this fall to complete his BA degree in the history of science. His reflections on his tour with the SSB appear below.
As an alumnus of two congressional offices and a lobbying firm, I was somewhat apprehensive about joining an office composed of scientists who had spent their careers crusading for scientific substance in the policy made by my more politically focused former employers. What's more, for years aerospace engineering professors had told me terrible tales of engineers left alone in rooms of space scientists, where perfectly self-justifying high-tech demonstrators are trampled by photon-thirsty astronomers.
So I was somewhat fearful of the SSB staff when I was first introduced as a Princeton undergraduate in the obscure major of History of Science, and found myself hiding behind chairs when Mr. Alexander related my particular experience in aerospace engineering and congressional management of space programs. But I found that the staff of the SSB and the members of its committees were actually very forgiving of my past indiscretions, and very generous throughout the summer in their efforts to purify my policymaking priorities.
As a functioning part of the SSB staff, I got to attend a broad array of meetings at NASA Headquarters, where I saw the likes of JPL managers collaborating with university scientists and NASA officials on a range of policy areas, from the outer planets to data archiving. Opportunities arose for me to do research on NRC-facilitated scientific communication with China and on the mechanisms and possibilities for emerging remote sensing applications. And I was able to develop a highly involved understanding of the focuses of the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration and the Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, through work on many of their reports and meeting subjects.
My time here at the SSB has offered an invaluable window onto the processes of scientific agenda-setting and program oversight in NASA. In prior research, I gained a good picture of the interaction between Congress, the President, and NASA executives on the level of major policy debate, and I studied internal evolution of technology in the manned space program. My work at the SSB gave me a unique exposure to the motivations and strategies of the space scientists that I had always seen as an unfamiliar and under-empowered constituency in national space policy. I now know that although budgets for space science may remain smaller than for manned space, the national community of space scientists (particularly through the SSB and the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee) plays a very strong role in the decisions of the federal space agency.
Elizabeth Yale, our SSB summer undergraduate intern, is a student at Yale University working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy and physics in 2002. David Smith (Senior Program Officer) is her advisor. In previous summers, she has worked with Jeff Kenney, a Yale astronomy professor who studies active galaxies, and she has studied German at the University of Heidelberg. During the school year, she plays trombone with the Yale bands and tutors Yale undergraduates in astronomy and math. This summer, in addition to interning with the SSB, she is beginning work on her senior research project on micro-lensing and is trying to decide what and where she wants to study during graduate school. She is considering applying to programs in astrophysics and history and philosophy of science.
Elizabeth Yale completed an assignment inAugust as the SSB summer undergraduate intern. She came to the NRC after completing her junior year at Yale University, and she returns to Yale this fall to complete her BA degree in the history of science. Her reflections on her tour with the SSB appear below. My summer stay with the Space Studies Board was both pleasant and productive. I worked primarily with the Solar System Exploration Survey, researching various facets of planetary science, organizing background materials for the panels, and attending panel meetings. I felt as though I was in a painless version of summer school, learning fascinating new things every day but not being forced to take any tests on the material. I familiarized myself with science program, especially the Discovery missions and plans for outer solar system exploration. Now that I’ve returned to school, I am alert to NASA news, announcements of launches, new discoveries, and proposals for the study of everything from the grains of interstellar dust captured by Stardust to the possible unimaginable life forms swimming in a European ocean. Planetary scientists study a solar system that seems increasingly exciting, complex, and diverse. I hope that through my summer work at the SSB I have contributed to deepening our understanding of the processes that shape our solar system and us.
July/ September 2002
Upon first discovering that I'd been offered a position with the Space Studies Board, I was boundlessly excited. A few reflective days later, the gravity of the situation set in and I realized the trepidation I felt at uprooting myself 3000 miles to the East Coast. It was a serious matter to imagine sacrificing a golden California summer for what everyone promised me would be three months of steamy inferno. And there was still another type of climate to which my lack of exposure worried me; I was headed for Washington D.C. knowing very little about the federal government and how it works. Nevertheless, I gathered my nerves and stepped onto a plane with two suitcases, a love for starry skies and astronomy's aesthetic appeal and an insatiable scientific curiosity given me by a few amazing UCLA astronomy professors. I was also armed with a sneaking suspicion that I'd adore space policy, thanks to countless debates with my lawyer-parents and a couple of policy classes I'd managed to squeeze in among the science ones. Needless to say, my learning curve this summer has been steep. I've celebrated the novelty of good public transportation (Southern California could learn something on this score) and conquered the Metro system. I've found grocery stores, visited monuments, and breathed a history more ancient than that of the urban West Coast. To my surprise as a die-hard Californian, I've fallen in love with the city. Perhaps even more surprising has been my development of a kind of affection for the workings of the federal government, coming now that the shock at its messiness has started to wear off. I've devoured a lot about the appropriations process, learned who influences federal decisions and policies and how their work is done. This new knowledge in combination with my experiences at the SSB has allowed the one predictable part of my summer to come to fruition: my interest in space policy has grown.
In these 10 weeks, I've assisted in a range of tasks from assisting in the choice of artwork for the halls of the new building to observing heated meetings at NASA Headquarters. I attended a BPRAC meeting at NASA where I took notes and met Keith Cowing of famed NASA Watch, and I filled him in on how those identified with pop-culture feel about Lance Bass. I pored over five of the most recent SSB reports in preparation for a "synthesis" to be made by the staff officers, and (I have to admit it) I found myself sucked in for a decent amount of time to sections on dark matter in "Quarks to the Cosmos" and to sections of the solar system surveys. Even my distaste for biology was turned upside-down by annoyingly enthralling sections of the space biology reports I organized into an NRC advice tree. One of my favorite events was a NASA management hearing that had Sean O'Keefe on the hot seat and me with my ears perked to hear how policy, debate, and science come together. And this was just a start. I began noticing my increasing appetite for space policy when I had an argument with a fellow SSB research assistant over the merits of crashing the Galileo probe into Jupiter. A high school friend of mine who heard the debate and clearly failed to grasp its significance now teases me for being a nerd. Reveling in this new type of "nerdiness," I put together a package of press articles on the Solar System Exploration Survey, assisted with the response-to-review for the Solar and Space Physics survey, scrambled to help last-minute edit a power point presentation for an SScAC meeting and found references for a report on organic environments.
I'm well aware of how far I am from knowing everything about the government and its advisors, but I feel like I got to taste a sprinkle of almost everything the SSB does. I was able to gain some significant insight into the way SSB's work fits into the overall federal structure and ultimately provides definition for the direction of space science in the nation. The experiences I had in the process were extensively educational and enormously fun. I owe a huge thank you to everyone at the SSB for giving me things to do that kept me entertained, for answering the questions I asked even when they demanded long answers, for a little bit of lunchtime laughter and most of all for exposing me to this city, this political environment, and to the real life workings of space policy. I feel that it would be appropriate to explain where I plan to go with my new knowledge, but the truth is, I can't. I can safely say that I now have more questions than ever about the direction of my life. I might want to influence the political process on one end as a university professor and researcher, or perhaps I'll find myself more directly involved as a politician. Luckily, they all say I have time to figure that out. There's one thing I can say that is almost sure. In the future, I wouldn't be surprised to again find myself foregoing near-perfect California weather in favor of steeping myself in the energy and vibrancy that come from a city where power, politics and (for the real nerds), science and decisions about science converge.
April/ June 03
Bethany Ehlmann, our SSB summer undergraduate intern, is a student at Washington University (WU) in St. Louis, Missouri and is working towards her bachelor’s degrees in Earth & Planetary Sciences and Environmental Studies in 2004. During the school year, she works with Dr. Raymond Arvidson in WU’s Remote Sensing Laboratory. Her projects have included study of the properties of Mars’ surface using telemetry and suspension data from the Sojourner rover and hydrologic and isotopic modeling of Lake Waiau, Mauna Kea, Hawaii. She is currently beginning senior thesis research on Kilaeua Volcano, Hawaii as well as preparing to work with the Science Operations Team at JPL when the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) land in January 2004. Other past projects include study of tropical rainforest tree reproduction while in Panama (fall 2003) and, as part of the 2002 NASA Astrobiology Academy, remote sensing of the perennial springs of Axel Heiberg Island, Canadian Arctic and a study of the political and technical feasibility of a human mission to Mars. She is intensely interested in planetary sciences and space policy and plans to enter graduate school, pursue a career in planetary sciences, and hopefully one day return full circle to serve on one of the NRC committees on space policy.
July/ September 03
While in Washington, DC, I tried a little bit of everything: Fourth of July on the Mall, Ethiopian food, visits to the Smithsonian museums, Latin cafes, and performances at the Kennedy Center. My experience at the Space Studies Board was no different. I was exposed to current, cutting-edge research in all areas of space studies: from life sciences, to astrophysics, to planetary sciences. It’s an ideal situation for someone like me who is currently trying to figure out which of these fields to pursue further in graduate school. From preparing testimony for Senate hearings, to helping draft a popular version to the Solar System Exploration Decadal Survey, it’s been an incredible learning experience. The junction of science and public policy is one that has long intrigued me. Only this summer did I get an up close view of what it’s like to work in both fields, day after day. The SSB staff is a wonderful group to work with. It’s been a privilege and an honor working for the Board, and I hope I will cross paths with SSB staff and committee members many times in the future. After spending time at JPL working in support of the Mars Exploration Rover team and collecting reference spectra of volcanic features in Hawaii, Bethany returned to complete her studies at Washington University, St. Louis.
April/ June 2004
When I received the call offering me a space policy intern position working at the National Academies this summer, I had just made the big decision to attend graduate school for astronomy in the fall in lieu of law school. I knew little of what the NAS was and how it operated, I knew only that many of the astronomers I worked with last summer at Kitt Peak National Observatory spoke highly of it, and that the decadal surveys, whatever they were, were occasionally mentioned when upcoming missions or telescopes were discussed. I did a little research online, spoke to both my physics and political science advisor at Dickinson College, and decided to accept the position. It was my hope that working for the Space Studies Board would give me the unique opportunity to delve into the intersection of my two rather dissimilar fields of undergraduate study. I was also excited to spend the summer in D.C., a city I had visited often but never spent an extended period of time exploring. Upon arrival I was immediately struck by the wide range of projects underway at the SSB. By the end of the first day, I found out I would be helping with the nuclear systems committee and needed to order plane tickets for a place called Woods Hole. I have worked on various projects including the Hubble review and the Limits of Organic Life study. The Woods Hole meeting then gave me a chance to see a committee finalizing details and beginning the process of writing their report. Getting the chance to see all aspects of the process, from gathering committee members to the final review in different projects, and to see how the NAS interacts with other organizations has been invaluable.
I can’t believe my summer in Washington, DC is over. Being here has been a great experience. Over the last eleven weeks I worked extensively with the nuclear propulsion committee panels, but also had the chance to be involved with many other projects at different stages in the process, attend congressional hearings, and meet with people working in other areas of space policy. The researchers and all of the board staff here have been extremely helpful and a joy to work with. Living in DC has also been great. I was lucky enough to find an apartment right on Capitol Hill and have enjoyed the proximity to all that the downtown area has to offer. From the funeral procession for President Reagan to Fourth of July fireworks on the Mall and countless museums and restaurants, I have really loved being here. I will be attending graduate school for astronomy at Wesleyan University this fall. I am still not sure what life will bring after I obtain my masters, but a career in space policy is not out of the question. Thanks to all the members of the Space Studies Board for this opportunity. And finally, I’d like to thank the Academies.
Amanda Sharp, SSB summer undergraduate intern, is a rising senior at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics, but her courses have included significant work in astronomy and math. Last summer, she worked under the supervision of atmospheric scientist Dr. Julianne Moses at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, TX, modeling the atmospheric profiles of extrasolar giant planets (specifically HD209458b, a transiting planet). This past academic year, she worked on laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in a Harvard geochemistry lab with Dr. Charles Langmuir. At school, Amanda participates in a mentoring program in which she works one-on-one with Cambridge youth, and she is also the president of her sorority, Kappa
Kappa Gamma. She is currently unsure of her postgraduate plans, but she has always been a space enthusiast and is hoping her experiences this summer will help her find her own niche in the space program. One of her initial assignments with the SSB has been to assist the staff on the Committee on Assessment of Options to Extend the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope.
July/ Sept 2004
This summer in Washington, DC, at the Space Studies Board has been one of the most formative periods of my life thus far. For years, I have struggled with determining my career path, and, while I am certainly not sure exactly what course I want my life to take, my experiences at the National Academies have helped me realize the many options that are available to me. I spent most of my time the past three months helping Staff Officer Pam Whitney gather materials for her study on Principal-Investigator- Led Missions in the Space Sciences and working at the infamous conferences with the Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope, both opportunities for which I am extremely grateful. With Pam and Google, I learned quite a bit about the recent history of space science missions as well as the budget and management techniques that are currently the fashion at NASA. With Staff Officers Maureen Mellody and Sandra Graham as well as Senior Project Assistant Celeste Naylor, I spent more time on the administrative and organizational side of NRC studies, honing my people skills and learning the ins and outs of planning successful meetings and dealing with interesting personalities. I have met so many amazing people here this summer, and everyone has been so generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise with me. I now know about aspects of NASA and the aerospace community that I didn’t realize existed before, and hopefully I will be able to build on my new “insider” perspective to get a real foot in the door in this space business that I have been longing to be a part of since I went to Space Camp after Fourth Grade. Richer for the experiences I have gained at the Space Studies Board, I am returning to Harvard University in the fall to finish my undergraduate degree in physics. I will always remember and be grateful for the advice and guidance of both the staff and committee members that I met this summer.
April/ June 2005
I first heard about the Space Studies Board’s summer undergraduate internship during my sophomore year. Even though I was a year away from being eligible for the internship, Professor Mark Engebretson, my adviser at Augsburg College, suggested that I keep it in mind as a way to combine my two majors (English and physics). As the year progressed, I had the opportunity to read parts of The Sun to Earth—And Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics. I first noticed the quality of writing. Rarely had I seen science communicated with such grace and clarity. Also, reading The Sun to Earth—And Beyond gave me a macroscopic perspective on space physics. While I loved the research I had done with Professor Engebretson and Dr. Slava Pilipenko, I found that after looking at hundreds of spectrograms or writing multiple data conversion programs, I lost the ability to place research into a larger context. Reading the executive summary of the report The Sun to the Earth—And Beyond helped me see how the work I was doing fit into a research strategy. Most importantly, this internship has allowed me to interact in a larger scientific community. As I have studied physics, my idea of research changed from a romantic view of a lone scientist in a lab to the notion that research is often the product of a community of dedicated people who are there to educate, support, and critique each other while pursuing one of the most exciting endeavors: discovery.
My internship at the SSB was one of the rewarding experiences of my life because, in the course of ten weeks, I was able to work on a variety of projects and participate directly in the some of space policy’s most interesting areas. Almost immediately after my internship began, I started to work with the Panel on Review of NASA Science Strategic Roadmaps. This was an extraordinary opportunity to see discussions about the possible avenues for the Earth and space sciences over the next thirty years. Since the panel worked in a short time frame, I was able to attend the panel meetings during the third week of my internship, see the report evolve over the next six weeks, and deliver the prepublication copies to NASA during my last week at the SSB. Later in the summer, one of my responsibilities was to provide support to the decadal survey in the Earth sciences. By doing everything from helping sort through the 115 requests to the response for community ideas to compiling previous National Research Council (NRC) recommendations for the Climate and Applications panels, I became aware of the large scope of the project and its importance for both the Earth science community and society. I am looking forward to reading the final report, both to see the future possibilities of the Earth sciences and to remind myself that, to quote a contemporary novelist, “This is an interesting planet. It deserves all of the attention you can give it.” As I look back at my ten weeks at the SSB, the kindness of the staff and the scientists who served on committees particularly stands out. The staff at the SSB consistently provided me with work that was interesting and was always willing to take time to explain those aspects of space policy that I did not initially understand. Those who served on SSB committees were helpful as well. By inviting me to a meeting with congressional staffers, offering me career advice, and simply letting me know they had read and appreciated a column I had written for the summer news bulletin, the scientists and policy analysts who worked with the SSB made me, a student on a ten-week internship, feel like a colleague. Before I started my internship, a former SSB employee told me that by the end of the summer I might catch “the space policy bug.” Although I was skeptical at first, I now find myself checking space news on a daily basis, reading old SSB reports, and telling my Augsburg College classmates and professors about everything from the planetary protection requirements to possibilities for nuclear power and propulsion in space. Regardless of what I choose as a career, I will continue to look at the work of the SSB with a combination of admiration for the quality of work and respect for those willing to undertake such an important task.
April/ June 06
Stephanie Bednarek, our 2006 Space Policy Intern, is a rising fourth year student at the University of Virginia (UVA). She is working toward her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Astronomy. This summer she is working with her SSB advisor, David Smith, on a variety of active SSB projects, including the Lunar Science Strategy study. Over the past few summers, Stephanie has worked as an intern with Aerospace Industries Association and Orbital Sciences Corporation. At UVA, she serves as the Student Director of Engineering Visitation and Undergraduate Recruitment and Secretary of UVA’s American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics student chapter. In addition, she is the Vice President of Virginia’s Equestrian Team and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. After graduation in May 2007, she plans to attend graduate school to study science and technology and policy and pursue a career in space policy.
Stephanie Bednarek completed an assignment in August as the SSB summer undergraduate intern. She came to the NRC after completing her third year at the University of Virginia, and she returned to UVA this fall to complete her B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering. Here are reflections on her experience with the SSB. Working with the Space Studies Board this summer allowed me to learn a great deal about the daily operations of space policy. I was continuously engaged in assignments that combined aspects from my current technical studies and my interests in public policy. My primary responsibilities focused around the Committee on Science Goals and Priorities for Lunar Exploration. I had the opportunity to assist in two committee meetings and aid in drafting the interim report. This, in addition to working on the reviews for several other reports, taught me a great deal about the process of issuing an NRC report. I was also fortunate to attend several congressional hearings this summer, which gave me a first hand account of the formation of science policy and appropriations. The entire SSB was incredibly generous with their time in introducing me to not only NRC operations, but also to the current issues in space studies and exploration. This hands-on experience with the Space Studies Board has encouraged me to continue my education and pursue a master’s degree in science and technology policy as well as a career in space policy.
Stephanie Bednarek joined us for a second assignment as an SSB intern in July and August. She graduated from the University of Virginia this past May with a BS degree in aerospace engineering. She is currently attending graduate school at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs to pursue a MA degree in space policy. Her reflections on her experience with the SSB appear below. I returned to the Space Studies Board this summer after completing my undergraduate degree. My experience last summer was extremely enjoyable and I was happy to have the opportunity to once again serve as an intern. This summer I was fortunate to participate on a variety of projects that encompassed all aspects of issuing a SSB report. Attending the NOSSE and NAI Review committee meetings taught me a great deal about some of the current issues in space science. Additionally, I attended a congressional hearing and followed the appropriations process of the CJS bill. This was a valuable first hand experience in space policy. I am especially grateful to the entire NRC staff, who took the time to teach me about the NRC study process, report production, and current issues in space science policy. My experience over the past two summers has encouraged me to pursue a MA degree in international science and technology policy at George Washington University with a concentration in space policy. In addition to my education, I will be serving as a research assistant for the Space Policy Institute.
Brendan McFarland, our SSB summer undergraduate intern, will be a junior at Johns Hopkins University pursuing a major in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. His scientific interests lie mostly within Astronomy and Astrophysics, including, but not limited to, cosmology, pulsars, and black holes. When not occupied by his academic pursuits at school, he enjoys broadcasting his radio show on the student-run radio station. He anticipates applying to graduate school in astronomy and attaining an advanced degree in the field. He hopes to one day become directly involved in our nation’s space policy process.
Brendan McFarland completed an assignment in August as the SSB summer intern. He came to the NRC after completing his second year at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and he returned to JHU this fall to complete his B.S. degree in physics and astronomy. Here are reflections on his experience with the SSB. Each day at the Space Studies Board provided me with a new experience, whether it was shaking hands with an astronaut, chatting with a Nobel Prize winner, or working directly with the SSB staff on one of the many reports they are constantly busy with. During my internship with the SSB I attended multiple House and Senate hearings, NASA Advisory Committee meetings, and various SSB committee meetings. The highlight of these meetings was my trip to St. Paul, where the second meeting of the NASA Astrophysics Performance assessment was held. The meeting was particularly interesting to me because I am majoring in physics with a concentration in astronomy. I learned more about space policy in this short period of time than I ever would have expected. Attending congressional hearings and writing up reports on appropriations language granted me insight into the congressional side of space policy. Attending the NAC Science subcommittee meeting gave me a view of NASA’s own internal advisory processes. Working with the SSB staff on myriad reports at different stages of completion provided me with an understanding of the SSB report process, and the amount of hard work required at every stage. My time at the SSB was extremely rewarding. The SSB staff was friendly and enthusiastic about making sure I got the most out of my time at the NRC. The knowledge and experience I gained during this internship will prove exceedingly useful as I enter the second half of my college education.
Emily McNeil joined the SSB at the end of November and will be working with us until February 2. She graduated from Middlebury College in May 2006 with a BA in physics. Her undergraduate research in observational astronomy concluded with the presentation of an American Astronomical Society (AAS) abstract on optical supernova remnants in M33 at the June 2006 meeting. Emily’s interest in space science policy developed when she presented her work on Capitol Hill at the Posters on the Hills session to lobby for undergraduate research funding agencies. At SSB, Emily has had the opportunity to work with several study directors on projects ranging from Mars Astrobiology to Earth Science and Applications from Space. Emily will start her doctoral work in astrophysics this February at Australian National University in Canberra, and hopes to return to Washington, DC for a career in science policy.
Abigail Fraeman joined the SSB as the 2007 Summer Space PolicyIntern. Abby will be a junior at Yale University this fall where she hopes to obtain a B.S. degree in either Physics or Geology and Geophysics. Last summer, she worked under the supervision of planetary scientist Dr. Jim Bell at Cornell University generating and classifying soil spectra with data obtained by the Mars Exploration Rovers. She was a finalist in the 2005 Intel Science Talent Search for a space science research project conducted at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC, and in 2004 she was one of 16 international students selected by the Planetary Society for a ten-day assignment inside Mars Exploration Rover mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. During the school year, Abby is a member and manager of the Yale Varsity Fencing team and is on the board of DEMOS, a student-run science education outreach organization. Through DEMOS, she coordinates and presents science-themed assembly programs to local New Haven, CT elementary schools. After completing her undergraduate education, Abby hopes to attend graduate school to study planetary science. She is thrilled about the opportunity to work at SSB this summer, and is greatly enjoying learning about space policy and the NRC process.
Abigail Fraeman completed her assignment with the SSB as the 2007 Space Policy Intern. She is currently a junior at Yale University where she hopes to obtain a BS degree in either Physics or Geology and Geophysics. After finishing her undergraduate degree she plans to go on to study planetary science in graduate school. Her reflections on her experience with the SSB appear below. My ten week internship at the Space Studies Board was both an educational and enjoyable experience for me. During my time at the SSB, I was able to attend the Mars Astrobiology Colloquium and a meeting of the Space Studies Board, both of which were held in Pasadena, CA. I met and talked with many prominent professionals in the space science community at these meetings, and I learned a lot about planning the future of Mars exploration. Solar system exploration in particular interests me a great deal, and I feel very fortunate to have participated in these gatherings. Working in Washington, D.C. also provided me with the opportunity to attend several space policy related hearings at the House Science and Technology Committee. I knew very little about science policy before coming to the SSB, and am very happy to have been exposed to so much information so quickly. In addition to attending the hearings, I learned all about how the NASA budget is made, and what sort of information is included in the budget. I would like to thank everyone on the SSB staff for being incredibly welcoming, friendly and encouraging. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with such a good group of people this summer.
Amanda Purcell has joined the staff as an SSB intern this autumn. She is currently a senior at American University where she is pursuing a B.S. in physics with a second major in mathematics. She will be with the SSB part-time until the end of this semester while she manages a full-time class load. This past summer she conducted research at the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center through a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at William and Mary. Through this program, she studied the magnetic and electric field effects on carbon nanotubes under the supervision of Dr. Buzz Wincheski. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school for either astrophysics or aerospace engineering. She is extremely excited about spending the semester working at the SSB and is happy to continue learning about the NAS research process.
Amanda Purcell completed her assignment with the SSB as an intern during the fall 2007 semester. She is currently a senior at American University. After finishing her undergraduate degree she plans to go on to study astrophysics, mathematics, or engineering in graduate school. Her reflections on her experience with the SSB appear below. My experience at the Space Studies Board has been both instructive and enjoyable. In my first week I was fortunate enough to attend the ITAR workshop at the National Academy of Sciences Building here in Washington. In addition to aiding in designing posters and tri-folds for the IGY/SSB seminar series and helping with the finalization of report publication, I find that my most valuable space policy experience has come from the willingness of the staff to converse with and teach me. I knew very little about space policy before my time here, and though I do not plan on it as a career path, I am very happy with the amount that I have learned and could not have asked for a better experience. I am unsure of exactly what I will be doing after I complete my senior year at American University, but it is my hope to attend graduate school in astrophysics, mathematics, or engineering. I would like to thank everyone who made this experience so memorable.
Laura Delgado will be a senior at the University of Puerto Rico this fall, where she majors in Political Science. Ms. Delgado became passionate about space policy after stumbling upon an article on space debris and from then on researching about the political role of space exploration. Her internship experience in the Office of Congressman Luis Fortuño during fall 2007 allowed her to learn more about this complex area and encouraged her to consider it as a career goal for the future. She currently works as a research assistant on a project titled "Corruption, Information and Electoral Accountability" and also as an Intern for Development at the Arecibo Observatory, hoping to ensure that scientific facilities such as this one remain in operation to the advancement of science. Apart from this, she is also a writer, a calligrapher and a certified artisan in pyrography. After completing her bachelor’s degree in May 2009, Ms. Delgado intends to pursue a joint J.D. and M.A. in international science policy, in hopes of one day working as a space policy advisor.
Kayleigh Bohemier attends Smith College, where she majors in English and minors in Astronomy, and will be entering her senior year this fall. While at school, she works with the Astronomy Department as a teaching assistant for introductory lab classes. This semester, she is studying abroad at Royal Holloway University of London. Ms. Bohemier discovered her interest in space policy when she read Venus in Transit, a work that exposed her to the extensive political drive behind astronomical research and development, shortly after a grassroots work experience. In addition to space policy, her interests include writing, open source software, and cooking. She plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies or Science Policy.
Lewis Groswald joined the SSB as the Autumn 2008 Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern. Mr. Groswald is a first-year graduate student pursuing his masters’ degree in international science and technology policy at the George Washington University (GW). A recent graduate of GW, he studied international affairs with a double concentration in conflict and security and Europe and Eurasia as an undergraduate. Mr. Groswald has expressed an interest in space since childhood, but it was not until he had the opportunity to work with the National Space Society during his senior year at GW that he decided to pursue a career in space policy, educating the public on space issues, and formulating policy.
Ms. Wolfgang joined SSB as a senior at Cornell University. She will graduate this May as a physics major, education minor, and Merill Presidential Research Scholar. While at school, Angie does research in infrared astronomy with Cornell professor James Lloyd, and she studies star clusters with Penn State professor Jason Wright. Angie became interested in science policy when she discovered her passion for science education and began exploring careers which facilitate interaction between the scientific community and the public. When Angie is not doing research, she is volunteering for informal science education programs and mentoring high school students and younger undergraduate science majors. Her interests also include marching band, concert band, hiking, tennis, and team sports. In the fall she will be attending the University of California, Santa Cruz for graduate school in astronomy and astrophysics.
In the fall of 2009, Ms. Bock will enter her senior year at Harvard University, where she majors in physics and astrophysics and minors in government. One of her academic highlights thus far was visiting the Cerro Tololo and Magellan Observatories in Chile with the Harvard astrophysics department last winter. Outside of class, Jordan enjoys serving on the board of Women in Science at Harvard-Radcliffe, chairing the House Committee which governs the residential life of her college, and rowing on the women’s crew team. Jordan became interested in science policy while trying to combine her love of science with her interest in government and international affairs. Last summer, she worked as a research assistant for Professor Henry Hertzfeld at the Space Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., researching the role of international organizations in space. After graduating in May of 2010, Jordan intends to work for one to two years before returning to school to pursue a joint JD and MPP with the goal of working in science policy. She is very excited to be interning at the Space Studies Board this summer.
Elena Amador is currently completing her final year at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she will receive a B.S. in Earth Sciences with a concentration in Planetary Sciences and a minor in Astrophysics. She spent last summer working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center researching the prospect of mud volcanoes on Mars using spectroscopic data and high resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Prior to that she spent a year and a half as a student research assistant at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA where she worked with spectroscopic data from Mars. In late 2008 she was named by NASA the California Student Ambassador for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy; with this position she has done numerous public outreach programs that aim to bring space sciences to the fingertips of her community. As the Ambassador for CA she became increasingly interested in how space missions are prioritized and the methods for making policy decisions at NASA. The Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internship has been the perfect place for her to experience space policy first hand. Elena hopes to attend a graduate program in planetary science research next Fall.
I had so much fun returning to the Space Studies Board for a second summer internship! My internship at the SSB taught me more about space policy and the ways of Washington than I ever could have learned in the classroom. I was able to attend several congressional hearings, listen in to the Augustine committee meetings, and a go to a conference discussing the economic ramifications of a day without space. I also had the unique opportunity to learn about careers in space policy with the policy makers themselves, including staff from the SSB, ASEB, and Office of Management and Budget.
On the science side, it was particularly exciting to me to have a front row seat in watching decisions being made that will shape my field of study for years to come. This fall I entered the Ph.D. program in Earth and Planetary Science at Washington University in St. Louis, so I was thrilled to be able to get a “behind the scenes” view of the first meeting of the Planetary Science decadal survey committee. The results of this survey will have a large impact on my career, so I am very glad to have had the opportunity to better understand the process behind writing and producing this report.
I would once again like to thank everyone on the SSB staff for being incredibly welcoming, friendly and encouraging. I am so pleased to have had another wonderful opportunity to work with such a good group of people this past summer!
Andreas Frick grew up in Germany and recently graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in aerospace engineering and political science. After getting involved with the Space Systems & Controls Lab at Iowa State, he developed a great interest in space exploration and space policy. During this time, he participated in a high altitude ballooning program and led a design team for a Mars-analog rover to compete at the Mars Society’s annual University Rover Challenge. Previously, he participated in a sounding rocket experiment of an inflatable Mars probe concept at the Esrange Space Center, Sweden, as part of an internship with the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich. Andreas hopes to continue his education in space policy by combining technical with political aspects of space exploration and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University.
Dara Fisher is a rising senior at the University of Michigan studying Earth System Science Engineering with a concentration in Space Weather and a minor in International Engineering. On campus, Ms. Fisher serves as the president of the University of Michigan engineering student government, is a member of the engineering academic and leadership honor societies, and has done research in the fields of laboratory astrophysics and remote sensing. She first became interested in space and space exploration in high school, but discovered her love of science policy after taking a class entitled “Beyond Sputnik: National Science Policy in the 21st
Century” in the spring of her junior year. After she completes her undergraduate studies in spring 2011, Ms. Fisher plans to pursue a master’s degree in Science and Technology Policy.
Back to topGabriele Betancourt-Martinez
Gabriele Betancourt-Martinez graduated in May of 2010 from Yale University with a B.S. in astronomy and physics. Her senior project involved optimizing the circuitry for the photomultiplier tube array in PIXeY (Particle Identification in Xenon at Yale), a small-scale, liquid xenon dark matter detector. She also investigated the kinematics and evolution of multiple star-forming dense cores in the radio band through the Yale STARS II fellowship. She is greatly enjoying exploring the realm of space policy as a way of combining her love of practicing science with increased interaction with the public, and suspects that she will return to the field at some point in her career. When not working, Gabriele spends her time dancing, riding horses, traveling, and indulging in her foodie tendencies. She will begin a Ph.D. program in astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park, in fall 2011.
Jason Callahan is in the second year of the master’s degree program in International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, where he also works as a research assistant. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in history of science, and a master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in history and sociology of science and technology. Jason spent the summer working as an intern for the Tauri Group.
Katie Daud is a senior at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a triple major in planetary science, Earth science and political science. She serves as the president of the Astronomy Club and senator for the Community Government Association. She did research for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on lunar tectonics. Katie is interested in combining both her passion for space exploration and her skills in policy to work for NASA's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.
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Rachael Alexandroff grew up in Toronto, Canada and is currently a rising senior at Princeton University. She is pursuing a major in astrophysics with a certificate in planets and life. On campus she is the president of the Astrobiology Club and a participant in the women in science at Princeton focus group. She has done research in the areas of planetary statistics and Active Galactic Nuclei including an internship in the summer of 2010 at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe. Her passion for space exploration began at the age of seven and her interest in science policy developed through classes in science journalism and environmental public policy. After graduation in spring of 2012, Rachael hopes to continue her studies by pursuing a PhD in astrophysics.
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Danielle Piskorz grew up on Long Island, New York, and recently graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in physics and a minor in applied international studies. She has done various research projects at L’Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, Los Alamos National Laboratories, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and spent her junior year studying at the University of Cambridge. Danielle plans to begin her graduate studies in fall 2012 at the California Institute of Technology's Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. In the meantime, she intends to gain meaningful experience in science policy with the hope of making a contribution to the field in the future.
My time at the Space Studies Board was everything I had hoped it would be and more. As an undergraduate aerospace engineer, the more I learned about the space industry, the more I realized that engineers did not run it; instead, the policymakers make most of the decisions. I wanted to study this intersection of scientists/engineers and policymakers through the Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy internship, and I was not disappointed. The internship allowed me to dive headfirst into the space policy arena, learning how the technical community interacts with lawmakers.
When I was offered the internship, I assumed that I would get to sit in on meetings and hear about some key players in the field, but I could not imagine the summer the National Academies had in store for me! The SSB gave me an inside look into the arena that I was hoping for, but the depth and richness of my experiences over the summer was more than I expected. I had the chance to visit two NASA centers and two embassies for various space functions, meet several former NASA administrators as well as Buzz Aldrin, and hear about the latest plans for future NASA science missions. Those things, however, were just the icing on the cake! I spent the summer learning about the SSB’s committees and report processes first-hand—from committee selection, to meetings, to publication, including the famous response to review task. I staffed and prepared extensive background documents and meeting reports for several SSB space science standing committees and the NRC Committee on NASA’s Strategic Direction. These background document assignments allowed me to research in-depth the history of NASA and policy-makers success in guiding the agency over the decades. I was also able to attend and write brief articles on several congressional hearings and briefings, which showed me how personality affects policy. The best part was that I was able to spend substantial time with space policy experts on the SSB staff and throughout Washington D.C., watching and asking questions and learning about what really goes on, where the nation’s space policy stands, and where the experts think it is heading.
*participated as an unpaid intern Summer 2012
My internship with the SSB plunged me headfirst into the world of space policy and left me with insights that no course or textbook could ever provide. Things started quickly, with the SSB hosting two major meetings of standing committees during my first few weeks. The meetings were an opportunity to learn firsthand from some of the nation’s top space scientists. For someone with an interest in the interface between science and government, it was equally valuable to see how these scientists interacted with staffers from Congress, OSTP, and OMB to help guide our nation’s scientific priorities, an especially challenging task during times of budgetary austerity. I was fully involved in everything from logistical support to helping prepare summary reports of the meetings . I did not realize how quickly and deeply immersed I had become until my parents began to complain of my excessive use of acronyms unintelligible to the lay person.
My internship took me from congressional hearings, where I was responsible for summarizing information for SSB staff, to space-oriented events at venues ranging from the French Embassy to the Cosmos Club. When I was not out of the office covering events, I was in the office gathering information for committee members ranging from assembling background research on technical and policy matters to lay press accounts of space-relevant topics. Even as an intern, I was fully engaged in high-priority activities like helping to prepare the response-to-review for the forthcoming solar and space physics decadal survey—a key report setting the priorities of the heliophysics research community for the next decade. Even tasks that seemed more routine, like gathering biographic information on speakers for upcoming events, gave me valuable insights, helping me to understand the paths traveled by leading figures in space science and policy to arrive at their current positions.
I do not think I will ever forget witnessing the surprise announcement at a meeting of the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics of the NRO’s donation of two space telescopes to NASA. Seeing press accounts start to appear in real time made me realize I was not just following the news about space, I was in the middle of it.
Thank you to the staff of the SSB and the ASEB for a fascinating, challenging, and truly meaningful internship experience. I know that what I have learned will guide me as I finish my undergraduate degree, and in my education and career plans beyond.
Without space policy, humanity would be stuck on Earth. Without the Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internship, I would be wallowing in ignorance. Last year, I had a vague notion that a decadal survey was an important thing, having once been assigned a mock white paper by an excited astrophysicist. Now, I’ve read the reports and met the people who wrote them; I’m eagerly anticipating the SSB’s November workshop on lessons learned from all the recent decadal planning processes. My internship fundamentally reshaped my understanding of space policy, the federal budget, and the space exploration community. Days spent reorganizing the SSB sub-basement were perhaps less profound, but I enjoyed them anyway. I would like to thank everyone who made these unique opportunities possible.
I’ve just begun graduate study in planetary science at the California Institute of Technology. Fittingly, one of my projects at the SSB was to digitize the original proposals submitted to the first workshop on NASA’s Discovery program in 1992. I ended the summer by drafting sections and hunting down illustrations for the popular version of the 2011 planetary science decadal survey. These two activities reminded me that, while unraveling the mysteries of the solar system may require considerable technical acumen, the wonder of planetary exploration is universal. Assuming that we continue to muster the pecuniary courage to press into the unknown, I look forward to serving our shared vision and to embarking on new voyages of discovery.
Harrison Dreves is currently completing his senior year at Vanderbilt University, where he will receive a B.A. degree with concentrations in the communication of science and technology and Earth and environmental sciences. His academic interests at Vanderbilt have included science policy, climate science, and science communication through video. At Vanderbilt, he served as a senior video producer for student media. Mr. Dreves hopes to pursue a career in science journalism or science policy, working to translate between the scientific community and the public. He is interested in combining his lifelong passion for space exploration (attending Space Camp in Huntsville at age 11) with his interest in science policy at the Space Studies Board this summer, especially to gain insight into the political and economic structures behind space science programs. As a future space science communicator, Mr. Dreves would like to explain how research is funded, how a research target is selected, and, most importantly, why space science research funding matters.
My summer was wonderful. As a Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, my work with the Space Studies Board exposed me to a wide range of new experiences. Within two days of arriving, I found myself in a House committee chamber, taking notes on a proposed nation-wide reorganization of STEM education. As the summer progressed, I attended space policy colloquiums, NASA advisory meetings, NRC committee meetings, and many other events. My trip to the Johnson Spaceflight Center in Texas was a personal highlight. Not only did I sit in Gene Kranz’s chair at mission control, and attend serious discussions with the center director, but I ate real astronaut food! Check that one off the bucket list.
My work in the SSB office was equally diverse. I wrote policy summaries, researched legislation, and read community input for a study on human spaceflight at NASA. I put my communication skills to work, designing a report cover and writing a popular summary of the space and solar physics decadal survey.
Best of all were the people. The SSB program officers were always willing to share their wealth of knowledge and the admin staff moved mountains with a friendly laugh. I talked with professors of astrophysics, astronauts, NASA administrators, and aerospace engineers. I also met unpaid interns, food service workers, and grad students. Each of these individuals contributed in their own way to the gradual human pursuit of discovery and progress. At the Space Studies Board, I gained a better understand of this human pursuit – including lessons of success and failure – and made a few small contributions of my own.
Jinni Meehan is a Ph.D. student at Utah State University in the department of physics. Her research is directed towards alleviating space weather effects on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) by better characterizing the ionosphere, which can improve forecast models. Jinni developed an interest for science policy when she spent a summer with the American Meteorological Society as a policy fellow working on space weather policy issues. She has authored several publications and presentations and has been a contributing author to numerous workshop reports for the space sciences community. The societal impacts due to space weather effects on GNSS is something she is passionate about and understands the importance of effective communication between scientists and government and she plans to pursue a career in the field when she completes her Ph.D. Jinni is a marathoner, snowboarder and hiker who enjoys being active on campus through committees and honor societies, cooking, photographing and spending time with her two dogs. She is very excited for the opportunity to work with the SSB in Washington, D.C. this autumn.
Jinni Meehan is a Ph.D. student at Utah State University in the Department of Physics. Her research is directed toward alleviating space weather effects on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) by better characterizing the ionosphere, which can improve forecast models.
I must say how invaluable my experience was with the Space Studies Board. Prior to serving this internship, I had some experience in the world of science policy thanks to a science policy fellowship with the American Meteorology Society. I applied for the Lloyd V. Berkner internship to broaden my science policy knowledge, and this internship went above and beyond what I imagined. Science policy is a sensitive subject to scientists, and it is something that is often overlooked in my field, so seeing science policy from a new perspective really opened my eyes. It also helped to start the internship just as the government shutdown for 16 days —to see how it crippled several science projects and affected numerous agencies in several ways.
Better understanding of how science and government works, hand in hand, is something I set out to achieve with this internship, and I couldn’t have been happier with the experience. The internship exposed me to the ins and outs of the National Academy of Sciences by the exposure to several committee meetings, technical panels, and the annual SSB fall meeting. Also, I got to meet a diverse range of scientists from several fields, which is very valuable as I further my career.
Something I found most interesting is the relationship between the Academies and NASA as well as other agencies. I never quite understood how significant the reports produced by the NRC were until I saw how the reports serve as the backbone of many agency decisions, not only in this country but in the world.
I am very thankful to have served as a 2013 Autumn Lloyd V. Berkner intern for the Space Studies Board and would like to acknowledge the staff for their excellent mentorship and knowledge that really made my experience extremely beneficial and something that has benefited my career.
Sierra Smith recently graduated from James Madison University with an MA in history. The research for her master's thesis focused on the sociopolitical context of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and its broader relationship to space sciences. While working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, she conducted research on the evolution of radio astronomy in the United States. She plans to continue her studies by pursuing a PhD in the history of science. An internship with the Space Studies Board presents her an exciting opportunity to experience the real time development of space policy.
As an historian of modern sciences, the Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internship gave me the opportunity to see the historical process of constructing space policy in action. During my time at the Space Studies Board, I attended meetings of every standing committee and the Board. These meetings introduced me to a broad array of the communities, interests, and issues that fall under the umbrella of space sciences. It was clear that the sponsoring agencies highly value the input they receive from the committees.
My time at the SSB also provided invaluable insight into the NRC report-writing process. Though I had some familiarity with NRC reports through my own research, my experience at the SSB showed just how much time and effort it takes to produce well-researched and nuanced studies. My future research will certainly be positively impacted by my time at the SSB.
The most valuable take-away from my time as an intern at the Space Studies Board will be the advice I’ve received and the contacts I have made. The staff always had an open door to discuss ongoing NRC work, my future career, and the not-to-be-missed places in DC. Committee meeting dinners provided an informal way to connect to senior people in the space community. Overall, the Lloyd V. Berkner Internship is a fantastic introduction to the world of space policy.
Evan Linck is a rising senior at Yale University and a physics major focusing on high-energy particle physics and astrophysics. Throughout his time at Yale, he has conducted research with MicroBooNE at Fermilab in Chicago, IL, and with LUX at Yale in New Haven, CT. In addition to studying physics, Evan has pursued his interests in Chinese language and philosophy while at Yale, including one extended stay in China (and an upcoming one this autumn in Taiwan). After graduation, Evan plans to pursue a doctorate in a still to be decided physics field. Regardless of where his path ultimately leads, he endeavors to raise the general public's science literacy levels, both nationwide and worldwide, by combining his interests in improving STEM education, advocating pragmatic science policy, and enabling greater science outreach.
Ian Szumila just completed his studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, graduating with a double major in physics and geology. He has worked on various research projects at the SETI Institute and his home institution investigating planetary surfaces and the geochemistry of meteorites. This fall, he will start a PhD in geology at the University of Rochester. Spurred by interests in economics and government action, he minored in economics and kept up with policy through extracurricular activities. At the SSB, Ian is getting a chance to experience the intersection of these interests and research passions firsthand through NASA briefings, witnessing testimony on the Hill, meeting the scientists who decide what research measurements are important enough to sustain, as well as those who engage their scientific communities to produce the decadal surveys. By using the knowledge he gains from the Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy internship, Ian hopes to gain a deep understanding of the science policy that will affect his future area of research.
Jesse D. Lively
Jesse D. Lively is working towards his juris doctor and masters degree at American University, Washington College of Law/ School of International Service. He has a B.A. in political science from Florida State University. Mr. Lively joined us part time while pursuing his degree and working as a local navigator at Legal Zoom in Washington, DC.
Angela Dapremont recently graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in geology and a minor in French and francophone studies. Ms. Dapremont developed an interest in the merging of science and policy as a result of participating in meetings with congressional aides about science education and funding during her final year of undergraduate study. She has conducted research in the field of planetary geology at NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. As an SSB autumn intern, she has had the opportunity to utilize her research skills and has accomplished her goal of gaining insight into the formulation and implementation of space policy. She hopes to continue to working in science policy and use her experiences as a guide for the next steps in her research career.
My internship with the SSB has broadened my view of the possibilities and opportunities associated with a career in space policy. I arrived at the start of the internship eager to learn about how I could apply my research background in geological science to the discipline of space policy. I was able to accomplish this goal through my work with the SSB.
Two intellectually rewarding experiences during my internship were associated with NASA related hearings on Capitol Hill. I submitted notes for a House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space hearing focused on the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (Orion), as well as a Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness hearing focused on the NASA budget request for fiscal year 2016. These experiences were the equivalent of being “in the field” as a geologist and I gained firsthand knowledge of the factors in involved in the creation of space policy.
As an SSB intern, I also had the opportunity to attend the CBPSS and SSB November 2014 meetings. The discussions and presentations provided at these meetings were valuable because they represented insight into the challenges and decisions associated with the formulation of space policy.
I now have a greater understanding of how space policy is formulated and implemented through my internship with the SSB. I am grateful for this opportunity not only because of the work I was able to contribute, but the people who made my time with the SSB an enjoyable experience. I am confident that I will continue to use the knowledge that I have acquired through the internship as I progress in my career.
Michelle Thompson is a Ph.D. student in Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Her research is focused on understanding the effects of space weathering on airless body surfaces. Ms. Thompson uses transmission electron microscopy to study microstructural and microchemical signatures of space weathering in lunar and asteroidal surface samples returned from the NASA Apollo missions and the JAXA Hayabusa mission. She has received several awards for her presentations at scientific conferences and was recently awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship for her research. She serves on several committees as a student in Tucson, including as a representative for the graduate students to the faculty, coordinator for visiting colloquium speakers, and organizer of non-academic career seminars for the students in her department. She has been keenly interested in science policy since beginning graduate school and is very excited for the opportunity to work with the SSB. She looks forward to bringing her experiences at the SSB with her while pursuing a career in planetary science.
The fall semester I spent as a Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern at the SSB was absolutely invaluable to my career. From the moment I arrived, I was immersed in the world of science and space policy. I spent my first few days engaged in NRC committee meetings, learning the nature of top-level space policy discussions. From my first few minutes at the SSB, I never stopped learning. As the semester progressed, I worked on an upcoming report, attended more committee and board meetings, and spent time in the House committee chamber. My primary focus, however, was working on the Sharing the Adventure with the Student Workshop. I had the rare opportunity to start at the SSB just as the project was ramping up, and stay through to the Workshop’s execution. I assisted Abigail Sheffer and committee members in planning the agenda, recruiting speakers for the workshop, and pulling all the pieces together during the event. It provided me with important insight into the purpose and power of science policy in a scenario far removed from the committee meeting room. It gave me the chance to feel involved in something with significant impact on the direction of science and space policy. It was an incredibly rewarding experience.
In addition to the gratifying work I was doing, I was equally happy getting to know the members of the SSB and the individuals on their various committees. I had the opportunity to discuss with each of them what a career in science policy entails, all while accumulating first-hand experience. Everyone at the SSB was incredible to work with and be mentored by, and they were always willing to provide insight and guidance relevant to my career.
The semester I spent at the SSB honed my communication and writing skills and provided me an insider’s look at the important intersection of government and academia. It certainly inspired in me a deeper interest in science policy and a better understanding of the important task policy-makers and facilitators have undertaken. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and wouldn’t have traded it for anything.