04 March 2014

In the next installment of, "Where Are They Now?" the Strauss Center checks in with Elaine Sedenberg, a 2010-2011 Next Generation Scholar. Sedenberg was paired with Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar Dr. Fredrick Chang, an expert in cybersecurity and information technology.

Since graduating from UT Austin with highest honors in biochemistry in 2011, Elaine has served as a Science Policy Fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington D.C., and is currently pursing a PhD in Information Management and Systems at UC Berkeley. As she explains below, her time as a Next Generation Scholar helped her make the leap from pure natural science to data and information policy:

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I am currently at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information working on my PhD in Information Management and Systems. My primary research interests center around data and information policy, and exploring the duality of open data in the new era of large-scale data analytics. This paradigm shift is poised to alter scientific and industrial research methodologies and infrastructure, but also has significant ethical and privacy implications.

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In addition, I am currently collaborating on a project with the Berkeley Social Science Matrix to visualize and study the academic research network of Berkeley social scientists. I was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and a Berkeley Graduate Fellowship for my studies.

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Previously, I was a Science Policy Fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) in Washington D.C., which is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center that supports the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as well as the NSF. 

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When I was awarded a Next Generation Fellowship, I was an honors biochemistry major completing my senior thesis entitled "Survey of Receptor Mediated Anion Transport." Under the mentorship of Dr. Frederick Chang and the Strauss Center, I was able to transform my spark of interest in science and technology policy into a career path and further develop my academic interests. 

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The transition from the natural sciences to policy was not trivial, and the Next Generation Fellowship was one key step toward preparing me to work and thrive in Washington. The technical complexity of current technology policy issues requires policy practitioners to be intellectually ambidextrous with their technical skills and policy experience. I am fortunate to have had support from a center willing to fund my budding research interests, and it is not surprising that I gravitated toward a graduate program that features many of the same interdisciplinary strengths I saw at the Strauss Center. 

The previous installment of "Where Are They Now" featured 2012-2013 Next Generation Scholar Billy Yates, who is currently studying Mandarin in Kunming, China. More on Billy here.

For more information on the Next Generation Scholars program, visit our website.