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Brandon Rohnke named AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow

Brandon Rohnke, a postdoc at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), has accepted an offer to be a Science & Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) aim to connect science with policy makers and to foster a network of science and engineering leaders who understand government and policymaking. “[Fellows] learn first-hand about policymaking and contribute their knowledge and analytical skills in the policy realm. Fellows serve yearlong assignments in the federal government... Each year, [the program] adds to a growing corps over 3,400 strong of policy-savvy leaders working across academia, government, nonprofits, and industry.

Brandon Rohnke
A portrait of Brandon Rohnke
Courtesy of Brandon Rohnke

Brandon, who is currently in the lab of Beronda Montgomery, will be placed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences in Washington D.C., where he will contribute to communicating and quantifying the impact of basic research funded by the DOE.

“I’m incredibly excited to use my background in photosynthesis research to be an advocate for the importance of basic science in the energy sphere,” Brandon says. “The DOE-BES has done amazing work at Michigan State University through the PRL, so I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the office’s work.”

“Since his very first days as a graduate student at MSU, Brandon has expressed an interest in science policy and policy-relevant science communication,” says Beronda Montgomery, Brandon’s mentor and a MSU Foundation Professor at the PRL. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch Brandon’s journey at MSU and I’m thrilled that he’s been accepted as a fellow in the highly competitive AAAS STPF program. I look forward to see the contributions that he’ll make in this new adventure.”

Brandon received BAs in Chemistry and Religion at St. Olaf College in 2014 and, recently, a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University.

The AAAS seeks to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people." The scientific society has individual members in more than 91 countries and is publisher of the Science family of journals. The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships program began in 1973. Today, STPF places more than 250 fellows each year in all branches of federal government.

By Igor Houwat