Excerpt from UMBC NEWS:
UMBC's new AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows focus on STEM workforce inclusion, youth justice
Published: Sep 8, 2022 | Dinah Winnick
Erin Lavik, professor of chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering at UMBC, is an innovator in developing nanoparticles to stop internal bleeding. She's also hard at work on a very different challenge: building STEM workforce development programs that are more inclusive and equitable.
Lavik and Erika Fountain, assistant professor of psychology, will serve as 2022-23 Science and Technology Policy Fellows (STPF) with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in the prestigious program's 50th class.
"AAAS policy fellows have been demonstrating excellence in science policy for the past half-century -- defining what it means to be a scientist and engineer in the policymaking realm," said Rashada Alexander, STPF program director.
The 300 fellows chosen for the 2022-23 class will serve in a range of government offices, working to inform actionable, science-based policies. Lavik will be based in the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, known as Manufacturing USA. Fountain will be hosted by the American Psychological Association (APA), serving as a Congressional Fellow.
The 2022-23 fellowship class is sponsored by AAAS, the Moore Foundation, and partner societies, with an eye on both the value of this experience for participating fellows and the impact fellows will have throughout their careers.
Inclusive high-tech workforce
"With the CHIPS Act passing, I'll be focusing on building workforce development programs that are equitable, inclusive, diverse, and accessible," says Lavik.
"CHIPS" stands for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors -- legislation that will provide nearly $53 billion to support semiconductor production in the U.S., supporting both research and high-tech jobs. The goal of CHIPS, the White House notes, is "to sustain U.S. leadership in the sciences and engineering as the engine for American innovation."
Lavik, who is also associate dean for research and faculty development in UMBC's College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT), will play an important role at NIST in shaping the programs that will generate these high-tech jobs, maximizing their benefit. At the same time, she will learn about federal policymaking and implementation first-hand.
"Dr. Lavik has worked as both a researcher and as an associate dean elevating research and advancing faculty development. This combination has given her a broad insight into product development," says COEIT Dean Keith J Bowman. "I am certain that expertise will serve her well in supporting advancement of our nation's manufacturing enterprises. I know from direct experience that Manufacturing USA has changed how we think about and carry out manufacturing, and Dr. Lavik's strategic and innovative mindset is a great match for this opportunity."
Photo credit: Erin Lavik (left) works with then-graduate student Adam Day (right) in her lab, 2018. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)