Our Mission

The MIT Science Policy Initiative, founded in 2007, is a group of graduate (and some undergraduate) students who work closely with MIT Faculty, the MIT Washington DC Office, and other science policy advocates to better understand how scientists can play a central role in the framing of science and technology policy legislation and public discourse. We strive to create better scientists and engineers as well as a better society through rigorous research and authentic engagement with public policy.

Our programming includes monthly meetings, lunch seminars, a 4 day short course during MIT's Independent Activities Period, and student trips to meet with lawmakers in Washington DC. We focus on educating science students on challenges facing our community at the institutional, local, and national level, to enable them to be better researchers and advocates, who are capable of effecting change in support of scientific progress. Our mission is to foster connections between researchers to policy makers. We work to place MIT's young researchers at the intersection of rigorous scientific research and public policy, such that they are well equipped to contribute to the development of both fields.

  PRESIDENT   Jack Reid   Jack is from the island of strange that is Austin, Texas. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Philosophy from Texas A&M University before starting his current studies at MIT, another dual degree, this time the Technology & Policy Program and AeroAstro. His research is on the management of complex systems and emergent behavior. This interest naturally enough bleeds over into the effects of policy as well as the political system itself.    

PRESIDENT
Jack Reid

Jack is from the island of strange that is Austin, Texas. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Philosophy from Texas A&M University before starting his current studies at MIT, another dual degree, this time the Technology & Policy Program and AeroAstro. His research is on the management of complex systems and emergent behavior. This interest naturally enough bleeds over into the effects of policy as well as the political system itself. 

 

  VICE PRESIDENT   Max Olender   Max is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering studying the biomechanics of diseased coronary arteries to better understand and predict disease progression and intervention response. A proud Wolverine, he earned a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan. After a positive experience with student governance as an undergraduate, Max got to thinking about how federal and state governance might be improved by the involvement of some critical-thinking and well-intentioned scientists and engineers, thus sparking his interest in public policy.

VICE PRESIDENT
Max Olender

Max is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering studying the biomechanics of diseased coronary arteries to better understand and predict disease progression and intervention response. A proud Wolverine, he earned a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan. After a positive experience with student governance as an undergraduate, Max got to thinking about how federal and state governance might be improved by the involvement of some critical-thinking and well-intentioned scientists and engineers, thus sparking his interest in public policy.

  TREASURER   Quantum Wei   Quantum is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT studying energy-efficient water desalination.  His current work focuses on batch reverse osmosis systems. He is particularly interested in public outreach and effective science communication and is also involved in the MIT Water Club. Quantum grew up in Northern Virginia before earning his SM and SB at MIT in mechanical engineering.          

TREASURER
Quantum Wei

Quantum is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT studying energy-efficient water desalination.  His current work focuses on batch reverse osmosis systems. He is particularly interested in public outreach and effective science communication and is also involved in the MIT Water Club. Quantum grew up in Northern Virginia before earning his SM and SB at MIT in mechanical engineering. 







 

  EXECUTIVE VISIT DAYS CHAIR   Miles Lifson   Miles grew up in the Washington, D.C. area.  He received B.A.s in Physics and Government from Claremont McKenna College, where he focused his coursework around space policy. He is a student in the Technology & Policy Program at MIT. His research focuses on satellite systems and related questions with both technical and policy dimensions.

EXECUTIVE VISIT DAYS CHAIR
Miles Lifson

Miles grew up in the Washington, D.C. area.  He received B.A.s in Physics and Government from Claremont McKenna College, where he focused his coursework around space policy. He is a student in the Technology & Policy Program at MIT. His research focuses on satellite systems and related questions with both technical and policy dimensions.

  CONGRESSIONAL VISIT DAYS CHAIR   Krysta Dummit   Krysta is 3rd year Ph.D. student in Organic Chemistry at MIT developing new catalytic phosphorus reactions. A proud graduate of Princeton with a B.A. in Chemistry and a minor in Computer Science, she has always been interested in the intersection between science and public policy. This interested manifested itself in an internship at the Federal Trade Commission doing technology research during undergrad and more recently participation in CVD and involvement with SPI.     

CONGRESSIONAL VISIT DAYS CHAIR
Krysta Dummit

Krysta is 3rd year Ph.D. student in Organic Chemistry at MIT developing new catalytic phosphorus reactions. A proud graduate of Princeton with a B.A. in Chemistry and a minor in Computer Science, she has always been interested in the intersection between science and public policy. This interested manifested itself in an internship at the Federal Trade Commission doing technology research during undergrad and more recently participation in CVD and involvement with SPI.



 

  EXTERNAL LIAISON   Gyunhoon (Kenny) Kang   Originally from the Boston area, Kenny graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Chemistry. He then spent a year teaching organic chemistry in Qatar before coming to MIT to pursue a PhD in Biological Chemistry. His research focuses on the structural elucidation of metalloproteins using X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy. His interest in learning more about effective science communication and environmental policy issues led him to join SPI.

EXTERNAL LIAISON
Gyunhoon (Kenny) Kang

Originally from the Boston area, Kenny graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Chemistry. He then spent a year teaching organic chemistry in Qatar before coming to MIT to pursue a PhD in Biological Chemistry. His research focuses on the structural elucidation of metalloproteins using X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy. His interest in learning more about effective science communication and environmental policy issues led him to join SPI.

   BOOTCAMP DIRECTOR    Ayesha Bajwa   Ayesha Bajwa is a Master's EECS student at MIT, having graduated with an SB in EECS in June 2018. She's interested in applied machine learning and currently studies learning in MOOCs in MIT CSAIL's ALFA group. Ayesha is originally from CA and is only somewhat adapted to Boston weather after 4+ years. 

BOOTCAMP DIRECTOR
Ayesha Bajwa

Ayesha Bajwa is a Master's EECS student at MIT, having graduated with an SB in EECS in June 2018. She's interested in applied machine learning and currently studies learning in MOOCs in MIT CSAIL's ALFA group. Ayesha is originally from CA and is only somewhat adapted to Boston weather after 4+ years. 

  DISCUSSION CHAIR   Eli Pollock   Hailing from the Greater Philadelphia Area, Eli is a third-year PhD student in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He studied physics and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also took classes related to entrepreneurship in technical fields and co-founded a political discussion group. He has always been interested in science as well as politics, philosophy, and other forces that shape history.

DISCUSSION CHAIR
Eli Pollock

Hailing from the Greater Philadelphia Area, Eli is a third-year PhD student in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He studied physics and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also took classes related to entrepreneurship in technical fields and co-founded a political discussion group. He has always been interested in science as well as politics, philosophy, and other forces that shape history.

  SPECIAL EVENTS DIRECTOR Lilia Xie   Lilia is originally from New Jersey and completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Princeton in 2014. She then worked as an energy storage analyst with Lux Research, which sparked her interest in emerging technologies and energy policy. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in inorganic chemistry at MIT, where her research focuses on developing novel metal-organic framework materials for energy-related applications.

SPECIAL EVENTS DIRECTOR
Lilia Xie


Lilia is originally from New Jersey and completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Princeton in 2014. She then worked as an energy storage analyst with Lux Research, which sparked her interest in emerging technologies and energy policy. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in inorganic chemistry at MIT, where her research focuses on developing novel metal-organic framework materials for energy-related applications.

  ALUMNI RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Amanda Vernon   Amanda is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Brain & Cognitive Sciences at MIT working to better understand the molecular and cellular effects of antipsychotic drugs. Outside of the lab, she is passionate about effective communication, scientific outreach, and translating research findings into public life improvements. Amanda grew up in Georgia, graduated from Brown University with an Sc.B & Honors in Neuroscience, and moved to Massachusetts and MIT in 2012. 

ALUMNI RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Amanda Vernon


Amanda is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Brain & Cognitive Sciences at MIT working to better understand the molecular and cellular effects of antipsychotic drugs. Outside of the lab, she is passionate about effective communication, scientific outreach, and translating research findings into public life improvements. Amanda grew up in Georgia, graduated from Brown University with an Sc.B & Honors in Neuroscience, and moved to Massachusetts and MIT in 2012.