(August 14) – Representative Chris Hansen (D-Denver) and Senator Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale) are pleased to announce the conclusion of the 2019 Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship, a bipartisan, first of its kind program in Colorado designed to give policy-making experience to undergraduate and graduate students with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The overall goal of the fellowship, which began in 2018, is to increase the presence of individuals in public policy that come from a science and engineering background as well as develop the next generation of policy and science leaders in Colorado and beyond. This summer’s fellows, who came from a range of universities and STEM specialties, were exposed to complex challenges related to energy, water, public health, transportation, and technology in the public policy sphere.

“As the world becomes more complex, public policy makers will need to call on STEM experts and technical problem solvers for consultation, advice, and collaboration,” said Rep. Hansen. “This year’s students were able to see this interaction firsthand through site visits, speakers, and independent research for their capstone public policy projects.”

Throughout the summer, the Fellows were tasked with identifying a problem they see in society, and utilizing policy as a tool to develop a solution. The program culminated in a three day symposium in which the students presented their proposals to their peers, legislators, and various other stakeholders. Their topics ranged from education, to greywater reuse, to transportation funding, to carbon emissions reductions, to combating online disinformation, to developing a science advisory board within the state government.

“It was exciting to see the problems that the students identified and the subsequent solutions that they developed,” said Senator Rankin. “Watching the Fellows utilize evidence-based policy-making to take on many of the similar issues we face in the legislature was inspiring and enlightening.”

Some of the highlights from this year’s program included site visits to Google’s Boulder Campus, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Regional Transportation District headquarters, and Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort. Other memorable moments included hosting various speakers such as CO Dept. of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs, State Treasurer Dave Young, Ibotta CEO Bryan Leach, Director of the CO Water Conservation Board Director Becky Mitchell, former CO Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, CU Denver professor Deserai Crow, and Emily Gedeon of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club.

“Every day I left the Capitol feeling as if I learned something new. Whether it was from a guest speaker, a research article, or even from my peers, the entire experience was amazing,” said Benjamin Garrett, a rising senior at MSU Denver studying Civil Engineering Technology.

As many of the students now head back to class to resume their university studies, they will carry with them the tools they learned this summer and an eye for viewing the world through a policy lens–something many scientists and engineers may be lacking.

“Science and policy are becoming an integral part of government and will guide the responsible development of society as a whole.” said CU Boulder Aerospace Engineering Major, Andrew Benham. “I will use the tools I learned in this fellowship for the rest of my life, and it’s a unique experience I will never forget.”

Interested in the 2020 Fellowship? Contact Representative Hansen at rep.chris.hansen@gmail.com or call 303-866-2967.

Full NameInstitutionMajor/Field of Study
Colton Amos LowryColorado School of MinesMechanical Engineering
Tyler Lynn PritchardColorado School of MinesMechanical Engineering, Minor Energy
Daniel RenkertColorado School of MinesMS Computer Science
Jared BrewerColorado State UniversityAtmospheric Chemistry
Tamera Elizabeth BreidenbachColorado State UniversityEcosystem Science and Sustainability, Minor Sustainable Water
Jasmine NejadColorado State UniversityBiomedical Engineering
Alia Mendoza EsquivelMetropolitan State UniversityEnvironmental Engineering
Benjamin L GarrettMetropolitan State University of DenverCivil Engineering Technology, Minor Mathematics
Celine HayozMetropolitan State University of DenverEnvironmental Engineering, Minor Mathematics
Andrew BenhamUniversity of Colorado BoulderAerospace Engineering
Peter HellerUniversity of Colorado BoulderEnvironmental Engineering, Minor Engineering Management