Physics - Careers Seminar

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Physics Careers Seminar: "Transitioning from Bench Science to Senate Staffer: a Physicist's Perspective on Science Policy"

Event Type
Dept. of Physics
204 Loomis (Interaction Room)
Apr 26, 2018   11:00 am  
Dr. Lauren Aycock, APS Congressional Science Fellow
Lance Cooper

Abstract: What is science policy? How do policy makers think about and use science? When did “staff” become a verb? The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (STPF) program is an opportunity for scientists to learn how the sausage is made in policy and for policymakers to host scientists in their offices. For the past seven months, I’ve been working on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Science Fellow. I will discuss shifting from working in the lab to working in a Senate office. This discussion will include what a typical day looks like, what opportunities have come my way, and what I’ve learned. Additionally, I’ll include resources for scientists to explore similar opportunities and other ways to engage with policy makers.

Bio: Lauren Aycock is an APS/AAAS Congressional Science Fellow and an Illinois Physics Department alum. As an experimental physicist, her research focused on creating topological phases of matter with ultracold atoms. Lauren completed her PhD at Cornell University and the Joint Quantum Institute, where she worked with scientists at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology performing experiments on modifying atomic interactions, creating synthetic magnetic fields for neutral atoms, and understanding the decay of topological excitations. Lauren’s research also included studying the educational environment in physics, and she measured the frequency sexual harassment in a sample of undergraduate women in physics. This research grew out of Lauren’s passion for advocating for women in physics and in science. For example, she founded the Society for Women in Physics at Illinois. After completing her PhD, Lauren hiked over a thousand miles on the Appalachian Trail in three months and raised over $3000 for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

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