Tuesday, July 14, 2020

CAES unveils new fellowship, names inaugural fellow

Veronika Vashnik
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies has announced its first Idaho Science and Technology Policy/CAES fellow. The fellowship is one of two offered through the newly launched Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program, a collaborative effort among three CAES entities: University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University.

Idaho Science and Technology Policy fellows spend a year embedded in an Idaho state government agency, developing and implementing solutions that address challenges in areas such as energy, cybersecurity, water, public health, and economic development. The program is modeled on the national American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program, initiated to bring scientists and engineers into a policy context where their technical knowledge and networks can inform people in government, a CAES news release said.

Sarah Hendricks
UI’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research leads the program. Nearly $300,000 was raised to launch the 2020 Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship cohort.

The 2020 Idaho Science and Technology Policy fellows are:

Veronika Vazhnik, Ph.D., was selected as the inaugural ISTP/CAES Fellow.  She recently completed her doctorate in BioRenewable Systems with a minor in Operations Research at Penn State University. At INL, she has been leading Sustainability engagement programs for employees and the community. In energy research, her interests are in energy system sustainability assessment, and the technology and policy for a bio-based economy. A native of Belarus, she completed her bachelor's degree from the University of Freiburg, Germany, focusing on Earth and Environmental Sciences, with an exchange year in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hong Kong. She will begin her fellowship in August.

Sarah Hendricks, Ph.D., has been named an ISTP Fellow. She earned her doctorate in bioinformatics and computation biology at the University of Idaho, her master's in ecology and systematic biology at San Francisco State University, and her bachelor's in biological sciences and women’s and gender studies at DePaul University. In 2019, she participated in a San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research program analyzing white rhino genomes in an effort to keep the species from going extinct. Hendricks developed an interest in species conservation as an undergraduate at DePaul University while working on butterfly genetics. This interest continued and eventually lead her to work on the Channel Islands off the coast of California where she learned about the gray foxes of these islands.Presently, she is a postdoctoral bioinformatics researcher at the University of Idaho.