Back in January of 2020, when I was a brand-new AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow (STPF), I wrote a blog post centered around a plot of the history of the STPF. That figure contained data from all the way back in 1973 through 2019. Today’s post is an updated revisit to that post using the most recent trends in the fellowship. If you’re curious about the history of the AAAS STPF, I recommend checking out this timeline on their website and revisiting the previous version of this figure. Here’s the updated figure:
One major event has happened since the last update: the COVID-19 pandemic. This has not appeared to have had a dramatic affect on the trends in 2020 or after. In fact, the fellowship has recovered well following the pandemic with a record high number of fellows in 2022 (297). This was driven in part by increases in the number of fellows at State, USAID, and in “Other” agencies in the past three years. Since the previous analysis, three new agencies have received fellows for the first time: the Department of the Treasury, the Architect of the Capitol, and AAAS itself.
The AAAS STPF appears to be on an upward and healthy trajectory, unhindered by the global pandemic or any of our other global crises. One former fellow asked to comment on the updated figure said, "it shows the continued importance of science that drives solutions to global crises." Well said.
Coda: This is a quick post to update the trends. If nothing else, it keeps my R skills up to date and gives the new fellows the lay of the land. Since that original post, I've written two other AAAS STPF-themed posts on placement office retention and my own knowledge gained through the fellowship. Check those out to learn more about the fellowship.
Almost every Thursday at noon, it is time to open WebEx for a video conference. This is not for a business meeting; it is for the weekly gathering of my local Toastmasters club. For the past three years or so, I have been attending these Toastmasters meetings and have found them a great way to develop speaking, time management, and leadership skills in a supportive and friendly environment.
If you aren’t familiar with Toastmasters International they are “a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization's membership is approximately 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.”
What does the program look like practically? Each participant selects a pathway based on their own speaking and leadership goals. Based on their chosen pathway, they review a series of educational materials online and then prepare a speech to practice the fundamental skills they have learned. In addition to the pathways, participants practice their speaking and leadership skills each week by participating in the weekly meetings. I have found my time spent in Toastmasters to be rewarding, both because of the professional skills I have developed, but also because of the new friends that I have made. I would recommend giving the program a try.
This month, as part of my pathway, I am practicing my ability to “write a compelling blog.” While I have had a blog off and on since 2015, this is a great opportunity to refresh the site, reflect on its purpose, and complete some long-overdue projects and updates. It is also an opportunity to get back to one of the reasons I started this in the first place: to practice writing about things I think are interesting.
So, this month will see eight new blog plots, including this one. Stay tuned for more updates and posts.