As postdoctoral researchers, we are experts in a particular area of science. We may engage with the government when it comes time to seek funding and to determine research priorities, but many of us rarely engage with governmental organizations when it comes to communicating about our research expertise or influencing policy decisions. Though our research may have policy implications, we are often focused on communicating our results with other scientific peers and can be reticent to speak publicly as experts. In this panel, we will hear from scientists, policy-makers, and advocates about what it means to do science policy, how academic and industry scientists can contribute to conversations about policy, and ways for postdocs to develop a career in science policy.
Shreya Durvasula is a Senior Coordinator for the Science Network, a community of over 26,000 scientists, engineers, and other technical experts interested in science advocacy, at the Union of Concerned Scientists. As Senior Coordinator, Shreya works to expand the reach and breadth of the Science Network, diversify the ways scientists can engage on issues they care about, and develop trainings and engagement opportunities tailored to early-career scientists. Shreya also works on creating inclusive and intentional leadership development opportunities for underrepresented scientists in advocacy. Prior to joining UCS, Shreya was a program specialist with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, where she provided training to programs aimed at improving infant and maternal health. Shreya has a B.A. in chemistry from Washington and Lee University.
Patricia Gruver is the Research & Innovation Attaché at the Québec Government Office in Boston, where she facilitates research and technology partnerships between Québec and the United States. She also serves as the co-chair of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle in Boston, an organization of 67 countries with international offices in the Boston region with an interest in science and technology. Patricia received a Bachelors in Biology from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Sydney in Australia. She has worked for the University of New South Wales and Harvard University on international cancer research projects. Before working for Québec, she worked for the UK Science & Innovation Network for three years where she led the oceans and communications effort for the entire US team. In this role, she represented the UK at the first UN Oceans Conference in 2017 and received an award for her communications work.
Daniel Pomeroy is the Managing Director and Senior Policy Advisor of MIT's Policy Lab at the Center for International Studies (PL@CIS). The PL@CIS works with faculty and researchers at MIT to ensure that policy-relevant research makes its way into the hands of appropriate policymakers. He came to MIT in 2014 to help launch and now run this program. Dr. Pomeroy serves on the external advisory board and steering committees of a number of programs designed to increase civic engagement and expand career opportunities of scientists. These include Harvard Medical School's Scientific Citizenship Initiative (SCI), Boston University’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program, and the Engaging Scientists & Engineers in Policy (ESEP) Coalition.
Prior to working at MIT, Dr. Pomeroy received his Ph.D. in physics from Brandeis University in 2012 studying high energy physics as part of the ATLAS experiment at CERN. He then served as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow in the office of Senator Edward J. Markey. He also has extensive experience in grassroots political organizing, running volunteer LGBT rights campaigns, as well as professionally directing field offices during the 2008 elections.
Daniele is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. She is a public health engineer (MIT BS 1996, MIT M.Eng. 2001, PE 2003) who received her Ph.D in 2011 from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She began working in water, sanitation, and hygiene to reduce the burden of infectious disease while earning her Master's degree, and continued working in this field teaching in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT until she joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2003. She completed her post-doctoral work at Harvard's Center for International Development from 2010-2012, and joined Tufts University as a Professor in 2012. Over the past sixteen years, she provided technical assistance or conducted research in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Central/South America in both development and emergency contexts. She has published over 50 papers on water supply, water treatment, hygiene and sanitation in developing countries and is a technical advisor to Potters for Peace, FilterPure, and charity: water. Her main research interest is how to reduce the burden of infectious diseases by investigating and evaluating the effectiveness of water and sanitation interventions. She runs an active group completing laboratory, field, and policy research and currently supervises one post-doctoral student, six Ph.D., and undergraduate researchers with funding from agency, government, NGO, foundation, and private sources. She enjoys rocket ashtanga yoga, cooking ethnic and vegan foods, backcountry hiking, state highpointing, and raising her two children with her husband.
Britt Huhmann is a senior researcher and data analyst with expertise in modeling and performing quantitative analysis in environmental systems, natural hazards, and public health. They are experienced in applying data to inform decision-making, building collaborations, and communicating the results of their work with other researchers and stakeholders. Britt earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering from MIT, a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa, and an undergraduate degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis.