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Stories from the Field - Feb 26, 2018
Civic Engagement for Sustainable Buildings

As an innovator and "maker" at the nexus of the built environment, energy, and transportation sectors; John Sarter frequently needs to integrate first-of-their-kind electrical systems with other building technologies. To accomplish this, he uses new materials and construction techniques that exceed, and help to advance, existing codes and local regulations. Even in a forward-looking city like San Francisco, though, the development of a building like Sol Lux Alpha – the first multi-unit residential nanogrid project in the United States – wasn't easy.

Postcards - Feb 12, 2018
Serving on a Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Amy Nagengast always thought that her engineering background and analytical mind, combined with her passion for infrastructure and buildings, might be a good fit for a local utility board at some point. She currently serves on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC).

Stories from the Field - Jan 29, 2018
Interning for a State Representative

Christopher K. Tokita interned for New Jersey state Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Ph.D. While it may seem overwhelming to dedicate time to working in state government while also working toward a Ph.D., he found it to be very doable and rewarding. For him, it was an achievable way to explore public policy while continuing his scientific training and research.

Postcards - Jan 15, 2018
Visiting the Office of the Mayor

Tim Oolman has spent his career in industrial research & development, where his mission is to transform innovation into sustainable solutions in food and nutrition. As he looks toward the end of his traditional career, he is motivated to engage with his new community to address the broader challenges in our society and communities.

Stories from the Field - Dec 27, 2017
Taking Politicians to the Lab

Leah Pagnozzi started "Take a Politician to Work Day" out of a desire to give a voice to her fellow scientists and engineers. The program’s main goal is to reach out and build connections with city and state representatives. They accomplish this by bringing representatives to campus for lab tours led by graduate students and post doctoral researchers. They hope to encourage the development of an organic connection between scientists and policy-makers.

Postcards - Dec 11, 2017
Joining a City Task Force

Ginny Delaney applied, interviewed, and was appointed to a city task force. She was initially nervous to meet community leaders until she realized that they were just like her... people who wanted to serve the city and to make it a better place to live!

Postcards - Dec 11, 2017
Postcards: Start Engaging Locally

In our new Postcards series, learn from the experiences of engineers and scientists who have taken that first step and found ways to connect with and improve their community.

Stories from the Field - Nov 27, 2017
A Data Scientist Goes to the State House

Derek Stanford is a statistician and data scientist, aka an unusual candidate for the state legislature. But by the time he filed to run in 2010, he had spent a decade volunteering with advocacy groups and political campaigns and learning in depth about policy areas where he wanted to make a difference. He believes that government would benefit if more STEM professionals chose to get involved.

Stories from the Field - Oct 30, 2017
An Engineer's Path to City Council

Is it possible to balance a technical career with a life of public service? Al Mendall is proof you can, and that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) training can provide unique tools for policy-makers. A software engineer with over 20 years of industry experience, Mendall has also held an elected seat on Hayward, California’s City Council since 2012. I spoke to him about the path from industry to policy and about taking an engineer’s approach to effective politics.

Stories from the Field - Sep 28, 2017
Shaping State Policy with Science

Josh Lawler, Ph.D. is a Professor of Environmental and Forest Sciences and Co-Director, Center for Creative Conservation at the University of Washington. In November 2016, he got a call from the state of Washington’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), a legislative office that provides nonpartisan analysis, which led to a rare chance to do research that directly informed state policy.

Stories from the Field - Sep 28, 2017
ESAL Stories from the Field

We are launching a series of blog posts - called "Stories from the Field" - written by engineers and scientists who have helped to promote good governance in their communities through contributions to their city, county, or state government. We hope that their stories will inspire you and spark new ideas, whether you are just getting started with engagement or looking for ways improve your current efforts.

Other - Aug 30, 2017
Global Solutions Start at Home

A version of this post appeared on August 30, 2017 in the Union of Concerned Scientists' blog. The original post can be viewed here. The post is reprinted here with permission. “Think globally, act locally.” I first heard this phrase as a child who had just learned about Earth Day at school. To my 11 […]

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