Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship places scientists in state agencies

MOSCOW, Idaho (KIFI) — An expanded fellowship program at three Idaho universities is placing two scientists in Idaho state government agencies to bring scientific expertise to policymaking.

The Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (ISTPF) is a nonpartisan program that places scientists, social scientists, and engineers in state government to learn firsthand about policymaking while using their knowledge and skills to address the pressing challenges facing Idaho. The scholarship, in its third year, is a partnership between Boise State University, Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. The McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of I is the program leader.

New Fellows Anna Briggs, Ph.D. and Sarah Maher, Ph.D. their fellowships began at the end of August. Briggs will spend his fellowship year at the Idaho Legislative Services Offices and Maher at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. This is the first year that the ISTPF has placed a fellow in the Legislative Services Offices. Previous fellows have been assigned to the Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the Idaho STEM Action Center.

“The Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship offers a unique experience for Idaho scientists, social scientists and engineers to participate in policymaking and implementation in Idaho,” said Idaho State University President Kevin Satterlee. “In return, the Idaho government benefits from the experience and creativity that these fellows bring. The expansion of this program provides an opportunity for fellows to dedicate their considerable talents to addressing current issues facing our state.”

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Briggs earned a doctorate in entomology and a master’s and bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary science from the University of Idaho. His research focused on vector-borne diseases, studying the biological factors that affect the transmission of the malaria parasite.

Maher is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in magnetic studies and data analysis. He has a Ph.D. in earth sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a master’s degree in geology and geophysics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Victoria.

“The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is proud to collaborate with the ISTPF program to provide exciting opportunities for fellows interested in the intersection of politics and science,” said Mary Anne Nelson, Administrator of the Division of Surface Water and DEQ Wastewater, a former host office that has a seat on the ISTPF advisory board. “The program has recruited strong candidates who have provided valuable information and assistance to our department, as well as gained experience evaluating and implementing policy. DEQ looks forward to many years of continued collaboration.”

The ISTPF has raised over $1 million to launch and grow the program. Funding sources for the third year include the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Idaho National Laboratory on behalf of the Battelle Energy Alliance, the Idaho STEM Action Center, the Micron Foundation, POWER Engineers, Boise State University, Idaho State University, University of Idaho, and individual donors

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