In 2017, CASE received one of nine planning grants awarded by the California Council for Science and Technology (CCST) in partnership with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation. The grants supported state-level planning for the implementation of a science and technology policy fellowship program, with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and CCST Policy Fellowship Programs as successful models from which to build. The fellowships provide opportunities for scientists, physicians, and engineers with PhD’s or equivalent terminal degrees to contribute their skills and knowledge to the development of science-related public policies while simultaneously learning about the public policy process.

CASE began the planning phase by establishing a Fellowship Advisory Committee that included representatives from the state government, former and current fellows, CASE Members, and foundations. The committee provided guidance for the development of the program. The Fellowship Program is made possible in part through the generous backing of our funders. In the interest of maintaining independence, funders are not involved in any aspect of Fellowship program operations including Fellow selection, placement, and evaluation.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) provided the first opportunity to place a CASE Fellow in the spring of 2019. Dr. Anna Hagstrom served as the Inaugural Fellow and completed her two-year fellowship as a member of DEEP’s emerging contaminants/per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) team. Seema Alim is DEEP’s second fellow and will focus on Building Decarbonization.

A grant award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation supports an expansion of CASE’s Science and Technology Fellowship Program in Connecticut. Read more…

Elements of a Successful Science and Technology Policy Fellows Program for State Government is a guide describing current state-level program models and steps for getting started in your state.

CASE Fellows

Seema Alim, PHD, PE

CASE Science and Technology Policy Fellow
Building Decarbonization

CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Dr. Seema Alim has a PhD in civil engineering, is a licensed professional engineer, and brings 30+ years of experience in urban planning, building design, and infrastructure development.  Her work included projects in the US, and internationally, including in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Middle East/North African (MENA) countries. She accepted the fellowship, “…to continue working on climate mitigation and Green House Gas emission reduction through policies, programs, and integrated planning focused on decarbonizing existing residential and commercial buildings, incentivizing new construction to adopt zero-emission building and appliance standards, and training the real estate community to incorporate energy efficiency metrics in real estate transactions.”

Dr. Alim’s professional experience includes an IEEE Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and leadership positions at CH2MHill/Jacobs and Louis Berger.  She has a BE in Civil Engineering from NED Engineering University and a MSc and PhD from Imperial College in London.

Anna L. Hagstrom, PhD

Inaugural CASE Science and Technology Policy Fellow

PFAS & Emerging Contaminants Policy, Remediation Division, Bureau of Water Protection & Land Reuse, DEEP

As the inaugural CASE Science and Technology Fellow, I have spent the past two years working for the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) as part of the agency’s small core team focused on PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Six weeks into my fellowship, a release of PFAS-containing foam into the Farmington River garnered public outcry throughout the state and thrust this class of emerging contaminants into the spotlight. Soon after, Governor Ned Lamont established an interagency task force charged with advising his administration on a comprehensive strategy to address PFAS in CT. Over the next five months, I helped DEEP and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) convene this task force and took on a leading role in organizing, writing, and editing the CT PFAS Action Plan, which lays out a series of initiatives that DEEP and its sister agencies have since been working to implement. The opportunity to help shape this foundational document was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my fellowship experience.

As a CASE Fellow, I have participated in outreach to audiences ranging from researchers to concerned citizens and municipal officials and have served as a point person for a wide range of executive branch colleagues in need of PFAS expertise. For instance, I have provided technical edits for the Office of the Attorney General on multistate letters to federal Congressional leadership on actions to support PFAS action at the state level and to the EPA on proposals to monitor and regulate the levels of certain PFAS in drinking water. I also provided technical assistance to a multistate coalition that recently published model legislation to support state-level efforts to ban PFAS in packaging materials. During the abbreviated 2020 legislative session, I wrote briefings for DEEP leadership on legislative hearings related to PFAS and testimony for the DEEP Commissioner on a PFAS-related bill. During the ongoing 2021 session, I have been able to play a more active role in the legislative process. In addition to advising DEEP leadership on testimony for PFAS-related bills, I met with the chair of the CT legislature’s Environment Committee and provided advice and multiple rounds of edits on legislative language. These efforts culminated in a bill banning the sale of PFAS-containing food packaging and the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, which was recently passed by the Senate and is currently being considered by the House. Helping to guide this bill from inception to the floor of the General Assembly has been another major CASE Fellowship highlight.

My experience as a CASE Fellow has confirmed my desire to pursue a career in environmental policy. I have been honored to work with and learn from skilled and passionate colleagues dedicated to safeguarding human health and the environment in CT. Participating in cross-government efforts on PFAS mitigation, a timely and complex policy issue, has given me valuable insight into the unique challenges and opportunities associated with work in the government sector. As I transition to a new position as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy this fall, I look forward to applying my CASE Fellowship insight to federal-level efforts to accelerate the deployment of clean energy.