Argonne postdoctoral appointees Lee Solomon (NST), Yasaman Ghadar (LCF) and Giovanni Ramirez (ES) were part of a group of nine postdoctoral scholars and graduate students from the laboratory and the University of Chicago that participated in the inaugural Science Policy Trek to Washington DC this past fall.
The goal of the three-day trek was for participants to learn about policy positions in a variety of agencies and non-governmental organizations, the importance of networking, and job opportunities.
The schedule was packed with visits to the Environmental Defense Fund, the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), University of Chicago Office of Federal Relations, the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education of the House Science Committee, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of State, National Institutes of Health, The National Academies, and National Science Foundation. The group also met with staff members from the offices of U.S. Representatives Bill Foster and Dan Lipinski.
Networking with fellows and staff members at each location allowed the group to learn about life in Washington DC and the culture of each agency. “The most eye opening part of the experience was how different each agency and group was,” said Solomon. “There were so many ways to contribute.” “Participating in this trek made me a better scientist. I know how to promote my research and how to write successful grant,” said Ghadar.
A big take away for the group was the importance of networking to help scientists build their careers. Cultivating scientific contacts across the nation can help to alert scientists to potential projects and opportunities they might not otherwise know about.
“We learned a lot about a new field, which gets very little coverage in a typical scientist’s career and for that reason alone I would recommend other postdocs participate in this program if they have the chance,” Solomon said.
The Science Policy trek program was funded by the Argonne Leadership Institute and was a partnership between the Postdoctoral Program of Argonne and the MyChoice program of University of Chicago.
Caption: Postdocs and graduate students from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory pose for a group photo at the National Academy of Sciences. Argonne postdocs include Yasaman Ghadar, LCF (front row, 2nd from left), Lee Solomon, NST (back row, 2nd from left) and Giovanni Ramirez, ES (back row 3rd from left).