Four UC Davis alumni granted CCST fellowships

Four UC Davis graduates were selected for the California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program for 2013. The fellows are appointed as advisors to the California State Legislature for one-year terms. They aim to provide policy makers with unbiased scientific and technical advice on issues put before the state senate and assembly.

The four UC Davis alumni awarded the fellowship are Neela Babu, Laura Feinstein, Gregory Gambetta and Annabelle Kleist. Information on the candidates was gathered from a press release by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).

Neela Babu is assigned to the Office of Assemblymember Nancy Skinner. She received her master of science and doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University, and her bachelor of science in the same field from UC Davis. Her research focused on reservoir design in the face of climate uncertainty.

Laura Feinstein received her doctorate in ecology from UC Davis and she is assigned to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

“This fellowship will give me better understanding of how scientists can communicate better with policy makers,” Feinstein said.

Gregory Gambetta has a doctorate in plant biology from UC Davis and has various professional experiences, including being a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholar. He has been assigned to the Senate Office of Research.

Annabelle Kleist also received her doctorate in plant biology from UC Davis, and she has been assigned to the Office of Assemblymember Brian Nestande.

Current CCST fellow Matt Holland said fellows are placed in the legislature to work as staff or as a committee consultant. They follow a bill from the time it is introduced to when it needs the governor’s signature.

According to the press release, this year’s fellows come from diverse academic backgrounds.

CCST was established in 1988 as a response to a unanimous decision by the California State Legislature to provide the senate and assembly with unbiased and accurate scientific advice.

The fellowship program is modeled after a similar program in the nation’s capitol. The CCST fellowship program was started in 2009.

“It’s a professional development program that brings them into the policy-making world,” said Doug Brown, CCST program director. “It aims to make better laws with good scientific data. Fellows learn the legislative system, and can contribute and use their knowledgeable skill set and ability to research to provide important policy decisions.”

CCST is holding a recruiting event at UC Davis on Feb. 1, with an informational session from noon to 1:30 p.m. in South Hall.

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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