Back on October 12, in an effort to encourage comments on these posts, and even guest posts, I suggested that colloquy is better than soliloquy. It prompted a few responses! For those I’m grateful. But if you’ve been tracking the blog at all closely, you know I have yet to publish a guest post. That’s not because I’ve been rejecting fistfuls of submissions! So please consider contributions you might make to the discussion.
In the meantime, permit me to come at this subject from a slightly different direction. Let me tell you a bit about our ongoing AMS Summer Policy Colloquium. The link takes you to the AMS website, and you can find most of the information there, but I’ll repeat a few of the salient bits.
Here’s the starting point. Let’s suppose that as a reader of these posts, you’re an early- or mid-career professional, in a field dealing with the Earth as a resource, a victim, or a threat, either as a scientist, a service provider, an engineer in a related field, or a practitioner of some type. You might work for government, for a university, or a company. Maybe you’re with an NGO!
Maybe, as you’ve been mastering your core discipline, you’ve become increasingly aware of the role that public policy – whether at the federal-, the state- and local- or the international level – plays in your work. Perhaps you’re contemplating a career change, or going back to school. But you’re hesitant. You’re wondering whether this is really for you. You wish there were a way to gain just a bit more feel for what you might be getting into.
Perhaps you’d like to be a Congressional Science Fellow. But again, you’re unsure whether you’re ready for a full-year commitment. Or you’ve heard the competition is keen and you’re looking for an edge.
Maybe you’re interested in moving up the ladder at your college or university. You’re on faculty, but you’re challenged by the thought of being a department chair, or a dean, or maybe a university president. You’d like to move out of the corporate engineering track into leadership. Or you’re working in government and it looks like there’s a glass ceiling for folks who don’t conceptually understand the policy process.
The Colloquium has been designed to help you.
Each year, the AMS brings some 30-40 early-career professionals to Washington, DC for a ten-day introduction to the federal policy process. This year’s Colloquium runs from Sunday, June 5 through Tuesday, June 14. Participants are given pre-assigned reading. They work through group exercises and case studies. They meet with Congressional staffers, and occasionally with members of Congress. They meet with federal policy officials, from many agencies, and from the White House. They hear from journalists and from think-tank mavens, on topics ranging from environmental justice and the ethics of science, to natural hazards, to geoengineering, to the valuation of science and services, to climate change.
And perhaps just as importantly, they hear from each other. Participants are a bright and diverse bunch! Some 400 people have gone through the program so far. One currently heads the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Another is Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma. Alumni are working in the halls of Congress, in the White House, in the Congress, and in state governmental agencies. They’re moving up the ladder in their universities.
They’re also keeping in touch. During the ten days, they make and/or cement lifelong friendships. Alumni events at subsequent AMS Annual Meetings provide opportunities for them to renew ties, meet participants from all prior years, engage a range of international leaders who also attend these functions, and hear from high-level speakers.
In addition to the early- and mid-career professionals, who are funded by their host institutions, some ten graduate students each year are selected on the basis of a national competition and fully supported by a grant from the Paleoclimate Program of the National Science Foundation, run by Dr. David Verardo.
The AMS Summer Policy Colloquium website explains the separate registration procedures for funded students and for paying participants. The deadline for this year’s student applications has been extended, to mid-April. The paying participants are selected on a first-come, first-served basis until the class is filled.
Still have questions? Look at the agendas and case studies from prior years to get a feel for topics and speakers. Look at the lists of prior-year participants. You may know someone. Reach out to them! Ask them about their experience! Or get in touch with me personally.
And if you’re an alum and have read this far, encourage someone with potential (you know who they are!) to give it a try.
See you in June!