Alumna Monika Roy ’21 PhD Awarded AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship
Roy will spend a year serving at the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently announced environmental health sciences alumna Monika Roy ’21 PhD and other members of the 51st class to the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) program. STPF fellows are chosen from a select group of doctoral-level scientists and highly experienced masters-level engineers to engage in a one-year immersive educational opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the public policy arena while leveraging their expertise to help confront major societal issues.
At UMass Amherst, Roy was a researcher in the developmental toxicology laboratory of Professor Alicia Timme-Laragy, where she researched the potential impacts of environmental contaminants on human health at molecular and organ systems levels. During her doctoral program, she became interested in science policy and learned about the AAAS STPF fellowship program as an option to explore this area of work. To gain further experience before applying, Roy spent two years working as a postdoctoral fellow at UMass Lowell’s Sustainable Chemistry Catalyst, where she gained experience in chemicals management frameworks and in contributing towards a variety of projects with different levels of government.
Among the 276 highly trained STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals selected, Roy will spend a year as an Energy Justice Fellow serving at the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. Within its mission, the office develops and executes Department-wide policies that strengthen diversity and inclusion goals, including the Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that “40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments – including investments in clean energy and energy efficiency; clean transit; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and the development of clean water infrastructure – to flow to disadvantaged communities.”
“This is a very exciting time to be at the Department of Energy, which is managing a historic influx of funds to address the climate crisis,” says Roy. “I see direct connections between how environmental chemicals, chemicals management, and the chemical industries I studied are linked to climate impacts. In addition, my work has also focused on who environmental chemicals impact and what communities are disproportionately affected. I’m looking forward to applying this environmental justice lens to the energy justice space to help guide energy investments in productive ways for people and communities.”
Fellows like Roy will learn first-hand about federal policymaking and implementation. They will also gain invaluable skills in communication, diplomacy, collaboration, and consensus-building. “Having been an STPF fellow myself, the start of each fellowship year brings both fond memories and excitement for the future,” said Rashada Alexander, Ph.D., STPF director and alumna fellow. “The 51st class of STPF fellows are quite the gathering of minds: these are expert-level scientists and engineers who have chosen to devote a year or more to help ensure that the nation’s policies are informed by science.”
The 2023-24 fellowship class is sponsored by organizations including AAAS, the Moore Foundation, and partner societies. Of the 276 fellows chosen, 38 will serve in Congress, one will serve at the Federal Judicial Center, and 237 will serve in the executive branch among 19 federal agencies or departments.
Founded in 1973, the STPF program celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. At the end of her service, Roy will join a select corps of 4,000+ alumni fellows who are equipped to solve problems with a unique set of science policy skills and acumen.
Visit www.aaas.org/stpf to learn more about the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, please visit www.aaas.org.