Fellowship program gives UCSC grad policy experience in Sacramento

After earning his Ph.D. in 2020, Jason John will work at the California Natural Resources Agency as a CCST Science Fellow

Jason John
Jason John

Jason John, who earned his Ph.D. in physiology at UC Santa Cruz in 2020, will be working on policy issues at the California Natural Resources Agency as a fellow in the Science & Technology Policy Fellows program of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).

As a graduate student working with Terrie Williams, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, John studied the physiology of diving in marine mammals to help inform conservation and management policy.

The CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellows program annually recruits and trains a cohort of fifteen Ph.D. scientists and engineers to spend one year working in Sacramento, directly serving decision makers within the California State Legislature and Executive Branch. Now in its eleventh year, the CCST Science Fellows program helps California policy makers access some of the talent and staff they need to make informed decisions.

During their year of public service, the fellows get a front-row seat learning about the craft and process of policymaking in the state of California. CCST Science Fellows work alongside decision makers to evaluate complex scientific issues and interpret data, while tackling the responsibilities of full-time staffers.

John earned a B.S. in biology from Santa Clara University and worked in medical microbiology before pursuing graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz. Through his research in the Williams lab on the physiology of swimming and diving in marine mammals and birds, he had the opportunity to work with over a dozen different species in environments ranging from Florida to Antarctica.

The CCST Science Fellows gain valuable experience and training in public policy and leadership. In turn, state decision makers are given access to science-savvy staff who can inform policy discussions with scientific perspectives and expertise.