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Science and Technology Policy Day: Fermilab and URA Empower Future Young Leaders through Science Policy Engagements

Jul 19, 2023 | Featured News, Science Policy

Washington, DC – July 19 –  The Inaugural URA-Fermilab Undergraduate Women in STEM Interns spent July 11, 2023, at the nation’s capital to learn about DC’s unique science and technology policy process.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and The Universities Research Association (URA) continue to fuel the ambition of aspiring scientists, engineers, and policymakers by providing unique opportunities for hands-on learning and engagement. URA’s summer cohort of undergraduate research interns, who are spending 10 weeks at Fermilab conducting research in fulfillment of the lab’s mission [Meet our 2023 interns], came to Washington for a highly anticipated visit to the White House Office of Science and Technology Office (OSTP), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Capitol Hill to learn about the people and processes that enable the great work being done at Fermilab and the other national laboratories. Led by Sandra Charles, Chief Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Officer at Fermilab, the research interns eagerly engaged in dialogue and exchanged ideas with key advisors and staff members.

Photo Location: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Photo Location: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eisenhower Executive Office Building

At OSTP, the students interacted with top-tier advisors and staff dedicated to leading interagency science and technology policy coordination efforts. This unique opportunity allowed them to witness firsthand the inner workings of the highest level of government, fostering a deep appreciation for the intricate processes that underpin national science policy formulation.


U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building

Photo Location: U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building

The cohort also visited the DOE-Office of Science (SC) to learn how DOE-SC advances energy research and national security of the U.S. by investing in fundamental research in the physical sciences, while driving sustainable scientific and technological innovation. The interactions with SC leading experts provided a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with energy policy implementation, while also highlighting the immense potential for scientific advancements to address global challenges.

At the U.S. Capitol

Photo Location: U.S. Capitol

The day concluded with a visit to Capitol Hill where the interns had the privilege of meeting with highly dedicated Congressional staff members who engage in both ‘science for policy’ and ‘policy for science’. Through an intimate discussion, the interns gained firsthand insights into how the legislative process is executed under highly scientific and technical frameworks, where evidence-based policymaking becomes critical in serving the public interest.


Overall, the interactions and discussions empowered the interns to see themselves as future change-makers within the intricate realm of scientific research and science policy.


Sandra Charles expressed enthusiasm regarding the enlightening nature of the visits. “Our research interns represent the next generation of scientific leaders, and it is our responsibility to nurture their passion and equip them with the necessary tools to navigate the intricacies of their future careers. By providing them with direct exposure to influential decision-makers and immersing them in real-world policy discussions, we are empowering these exceptional individuals to effect positive change and shape the future of scientific advancement.”


URA’s commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders is further exemplified through this comprehensive inaugural internship program at Fermilab, enabling students to experience a highly multidisciplinary and collaborative environment and perform mission-driven research. The recent visit to Washington, DC served as a testament to URA’s unwavering dedication to providing unmatched experiential learning opportunities that nurture the growth and development of aspiring scientists, engineers, and policymakers.


For inquiries, please contact:

Dr. Claudette Rosado-Reyes, Director for Programs and Partnerships
Universities Research Association []