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 Eli Pollock Hailing from the Greater Philadelphia Area, Eli is a second-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.  

PRESIDENT
Eli Pollock

Hailing from the Greater Philadelphia Area, Eli is a second-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.
 

CONGRESSIONAL VISIT DAYS CO-CHAIR Alex Mijalis Alex is a 5th year graduate student in Biological Chemistry at MIT developing systems for automated, continuous flow manufacturing of peptide drugs. Born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, he received his B.S. in Chemistry from Texas A&M, where he also worked on Invisible Jungle, a short, syndicated public radio broadcast highlighting advances in microbiology research. As a Congressional Visits Day chair in SPI, Alex is interested in advocating for funding for the sciences, particularly in underserved areas of the country  

CONGRESSIONAL VISIT DAYS CO-CHAIR
Alex Mijalis

Alex is a 5th year graduate student in Biological Chemistry at MIT developing systems for automated, continuous flow manufacturing of peptide drugs. Born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, he received his B.S. in Chemistry from Texas A&M, where he also worked on Invisible Jungle, a short, syndicated public radio broadcast highlighting advances in microbiology research. As a Congressional Visits Day chair in SPI, Alex is interested in advocating for funding for the sciences, particularly in underserved areas of the country


 

DISCUSSION CHAIR  Donovan Guttieres Donovan is a Technology Policy Program student doing research in the Center for Biomedical Innovation. He is part of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY) Science-Policy Interface Platform coordination team, enhancing participation of young scientists in sustainable development policy. 

DISCUSSION CHAIR
 Donovan Guttieres

Donovan is a Technology Policy Program student doing research in the Center for Biomedical Innovation. He is part of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY) Science-Policy Interface Platform coordination team, enhancing participation of young scientists in sustainable development policy. 

VICE PRESIDENT Angela Phillips Angela is a South Florida native and UF Alum with a B.S. in Chemistry. She is now a fourth year Ph.D. student at MIT studying influenza protein evolution. Angela became interested in science policy during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and is specifically interested in the management of viral pandemics.    

VICE PRESIDENT
Angela Phillips


Angela is a South Florida native and UF Alum with a B.S. in Chemistry. She is now a fourth year Ph.D. student at MIT studying influenza protein evolution. Angela became interested in science policy during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and is specifically interested in the management of viral pandemics.

 


 

CONGRESSIONAL VISIT DAYS CO-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 CO-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.



 

SPECIAL EVENT COORDINATOR 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.

SPECIAL EVENT COORDINATOR
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.

TREASURER Gyunghoon (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.

TREASURER
Gyunghoon (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.

NSPG LIAISON Max Olender Max is a Ph.D. student 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.  

NSPG LIAISON
Max Olender

Max is a Ph.D. student 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.
 

ALUMNI RELATIONS DIRECTOR Abigail Regitsky Abigail grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and obtained her BS from Georgia Tech. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where she studies mechanisms of biomineralization for applications in more sustainable industrial materials. Making the world a more sustainable place has largely driven her academic pathway and has more recently spurred her interest in science policy as a means to accomplish this goal.

ALUMNI RELATIONS DIRECTOR
Abigail Regitsky

Abigail grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and obtained her BS from Georgia Tech. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where she studies mechanisms of biomineralization for applications in more sustainable industrial materials. Making the world a more sustainable place has largely driven her academic pathway and has more recently spurred her interest in science policy as a means to accomplish this goal.

EXECUTIVE VISIT DAYS CHAIR 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.

EXECUTIVE VISIT DAYS CHAIR
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.

BOOTCAMP DIRECTOR 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.   

BOOTCAMP DIRECTOR
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. 





 

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Ronnie Foreman Ronnie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and is pursuing two Master’s Degrees at MIT, one in Aeronautics and Astronautics and the other in Technology and Public Policy. She’s been passionate about the interface between science, policy, and public outreach ever since her first high school job working at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Her research focuses on space based remote sensing platforms for Earth science and observation, with an emphasis on distributed spacecraft mission design, cost, and risk estimation.

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Ronnie Foreman


Ronnie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and is pursuing two Master’s Degrees at MIT, one in Aeronautics and Astronautics and the other in Technology and Public Policy. She’s been passionate about the interface between science, policy, and public outreach ever since her first high school job working at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Her research focuses on space based remote sensing platforms for Earth science and observation, with an emphasis on distributed spacecraft mission design, cost, and risk estimation.