The ESAL Team

Steering Committee

Arti Garg

Local government and community engagement is critical to many science- and technology-related policy issues. But there are few avenues for engineers and scientists to learn how to effectively engage locally. I founded ESAL to help address this gap.

Christopher Jackson
Workshops Director

I’m passionate about translating my research beyond the laboratory and making real-world impacts. ESAL is a great opportunity to do that at the local level, where technical skills can play a key role in getting things done.

Chris Spitzer

I’ve always wanted to get more involved in my community. ESAL is helping me figure out how!

Kendra Zamzow

In my job, I already work at the interface of science and policy. ESAL was a natural fit!

Laurie Chong
Vice Chair

I joined ESAL because all politics is local, and I wanted to learn how to engage in activities closer to home and to help other scientists do the same.

Nick Anthis
Secretary & Treasurer

After leaving Washington, DC, I wanted to get involved in my local community, but I didn’t know where to start. Getting involved with ESAL has opened my eyes to the many ways one can get engaged locally and start making a difference at home.

Leadership Committee

Rachel Owen
Development Director

I love connecting scientists to opportunities where they can engage locally using whatever time and skills they can give. There are so many ways that science and policy intersect and I am thrilled to help ESAL highlight these connections.

Rebecca Mandt
Events Director

It is becoming increasingly clear that we need more scientists at the table in every aspect of public life. I am excited to be involved in ESAL's mission of empowering scientists to meaningfully engage with policy issues in their own local communities.

Taylor Spicer
Managing Director

Every person has important assets that can shape their neighborhoods, cities, and states. I am humbled to support members of the ESAL network seeking ways to most effectively use their skills, knowledge, and research to engage local governments and communities.

Michael Claborn
Technology Director

My calling is to serve others with humility and compassion, empowering teams to grow and accomplish shared goals. I find deep purpose in uplifting colleagues and communities, guiding positive change through active listening, empathy, and ethical stewardship.


Erin Partlan
Events Team

A researcher by training and an implementation advocate in practice, I'm very interested in the translation of scientific knowledge to everyday life. In favor of increasing sustainability and equity through data driven decision making.

Gwendolyn Bogard
Workshops Team

Through volunteering with ESAL, I hope to give researchers the tools to communicate and build trust with policymakers and community members, as well as the confidence put those tools into practice.

Lina Zhu
Content Team

Through ESAL, I hope to become better at translating both science and policy and to delve deeper into the issues affecting my community.

Malvika Singhal
Website Design

ESAL is pivotal in highlighting the community-aspect of science and how interconnected local government decisions are with the research being done in the field. By getting involved, I can contribute to the goal of demystifying policy to fellow scientists and learn a lot along the way.

Nanxi Xu
Workshops Team

I'm interested in bridging academia and community. ESAL provides great resources for scientists to create real-world significance at the local level. I joined ESAL in hoping to empower scientists to collaborate with their local partners.

Emily Schafer
Events Team

I love connecting scientists with their local communities to increase scientific literacy and develop strong, evidence-based policies. I joined ESAL to inspire others to do the same!

Tony Van Witsen
Content Team

Science alone and facts alone never change anyone's mind. People always view scientific research and form their opinions about it based on their existing beliefs, attitudes and who they feel they are.

Jake Pasner
Events Team

My life's work is in opening the lines of communication between our human communities and the data technologies that increasingly underpin them. I'm proud to support ESAL's work towards this critical mission

Joel Lesher
Content Team

I have spent my short career connecting the public to scientists and lawmakers in an effort to promote science-based civic engagement. With this in mind, ESAL was a natural fit, and one which falls under the domain of science policy – a personal hobby of mine. By working within local communities, we can observe positive change in real-time, and I am thrilled to be able to contribute.

Matt Martin
Conference Coordinator

Through ESAL, I aim to support the next generation of science leaders as they engage with their local communities. Ensuring science has a seat at every table has never been more important.

Eric Wang
Web Team

I'm passionate about both research and making a positive impact on my community, and ESAL is the most effective way for me to do both. As a volunteer, I hope to help spread the benefits of science to the greater public

Mark DiTusa
Workshops Team

I'm passionate about showing how the Ivory Tower is a myth, how scientists are both a part of their communities and how the community influences their science. I joined ESAL because they are aiming to make that connection more overt, and I'm excited to strengthen those links!

Cherry Cheuk Lam Cheung
Communications Team

As a PhD student in Immunology, I’m hoping not only to translate science from bench to bedside but also make an impact on my local community. ESAL is a perfect platform for me to interact with the public and policymakers.

Hailey Reiss
Communications Team

Our science is stronger when we are able to connect to the public. ESAL's emphasis on acting locally allows us to uplift our communities and foster an environment where the next generation of scientists can thrive.

Dalton Stewart
Workshops Team

My Ph.D. research explores the interaction between technology and policy. By volunteering with ESAL, I hope to improve my own ability and the ability of others to use their technical knowledge and skills to engage with the political process.

Mica Smith
Content Team

By sharing stories of STEM leaders engaging with their communities, we can bridge the communication gap between scientists and the public.

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