Career pathways for scientists interested in decision-making

Many of the most pressing policy issues faced by society are informed by science and technology. In a cultural climate where scientific thinking and popular ideology are increasingly portrayed as antagonistic, actions to improve connections between scientists and decision-makers are integral to the continued progress of unbiased fact-based science policy. Scientists can play a key role in the governmental decision-making process through a variety of pathways, from contributing expert advice to serving as an elected official.

This session will provide insight into state and federal decision-making processes and the many ways that scientists at all career stages can engage with the process. Participants will hear from a panel of scientists representing different disciplines and career pathways about their experiences at the intersection of policy and science. The panelists will provide examples of policy engagement including, working as state legislative staff, serving as Science Advisors of high ranking executive staff, or by being elected to office. Attendees will gain an enhanced appreciation of the policy world and the diverse ways to interact in it as well as have time to ask plenty of questions.


  • Sarah Brady, Deputy Director, California Council on Science and Technology
  • Angee Doerr, Assistant Professor, Oregon State University
  • Le Ondra Clark Harvey, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies
  • Mark Elsesser, Associate Director of Government Affairs, American Physical Society
  • Heather Mannix, Assistant Director for Policy Engagement, COMPASS
  • Pervaze Sheikh, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy, Congressional Research Service
  • Aaron Goldner, Senior Advisor on Energy and Transportation Policy, Senator Whitehouse (D-RI)