We’re entering the final stretch for submitting nominations and applications for the 2015 Leadership in Science Policy workshop. The deadline is this Friday, January 23rd; we’ll be letting those who are selected know by February 2nd. If you know of someone who meets the qualifications and you would like to nominate them, or if you have already been nominated, now is your chance. Don’t miss out on this chance to learn about science policy from experts in the field.

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If you are an upper-class undergrad, or are in grad school, and you’ve always been interested in science policy, but didn’t know where to begin, then do we have a lead for you! The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has brought together for a second year, a coalition of scientific and engineering societies, universities, and academic organizations to create a program to introduce science policy and advocacy to the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Called CASE, which stands for Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering, it is a chance for upper-class undergraduates and graduate students in the science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines to take part in a three-and-a-half day workshop in Washington DC in the spring of 2015 (April 12-15). Students will learn about:

“the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations processes, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement. In addition, students will participate in interactive seminars about policy-making and communication. By the end of the workshop students will have an opportunity to learn about ways to remain engaged through on-campus activities.” (See more here.)

Additionally, students will participate in teams after the workshop to conduct meetings with their Members of Congress and congressional staff to put what they learned to use. It’s a great chance to learn why things happen in Washington and if it’s something you’d want to consider for a career.

How can you get involved? Well it’s a sponsoring process: each student must be sponsored by a university or professional society, and institutions may send one to two students. Sponsoring institutions are responsible for a $100.00 registration fee per student, as well as all associated travel and lodging costs. The deadline is February 6th; space is limited and it is first-come, first-served.

This sounds very similar to CRA’s LiSPI workshop, only geared to students. And it is providing a valuable tool to the science community, as often there is a disconnect between what goes on in Washington and how that impacts those in the science community (and what the science community can do about it). This helps bridge that natural disconnect. While CRA isn’t participating specifically in CASE, the groups who are organizing it are some of the best in the science policy world of Washington. If you’re interested, I’d encourage you to apply.

While the Consumer Electronics Show (or CES) has a reputation for announcing hot new products, once and awhile other really important news gets announced too. On January 6th, Intel announced at CES 2015 that they were making a major investment to improve representation of women and under-represented minorities both within their own company and the larger community.

Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, announced the company will spend $300 million on a new “Diversity in Technology” initiative. In addition, Krzanich said that Intel’s workforce will fully represent women and under-represented minorities by 2020 by setting new hiring and retention goals. The money will also go to “build a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists,” and, “to fund programs to support more positive representation within the technology and gaming industries.

Krzanich is quoted as saying:

We’re calling on our industry to again make the seemingly impossible possible by making a commitment to real change and clarity in our goals…Without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers.

Intel plans to partner with a number of other organizations in the industry to support the initiative. The ones announced are International Game Developers Association, the E-Sports League, the National Center for Women in Technology, the CyberSmile Foundation, the Feminist Frequency, and Rainbow PUSH.

This is a bold step. Improving diversity in the computing community is vital to the future of the field and is, simply put, the right course of action (which Krzanich also noted in his remarks at CES). The fact that such a prominent player in the technology industry is taking this action is great news and hopefully it is a sign of a sea-change within the computing industry and community regarding diversity in the workplace.