Meet the AMS Committee on Science Policy

The AMS has five “policy” committees, which were established in 1993 to correspond to the five major areas in which the mission of the AMS is concentrated: Education, Meetings and Conferences, the Profession, Publications, and Science Policy. Each policy committee provides major direction for AMS activities in its area.

The Committee on Science Policy is one of the five. From the Committee website:

 The Committee on Science Policy serves as a forum for dialogue about matters of science policy involving representatives of the Society, government and other interested parties; interacts with Federal agencies and policymakers; provides advice to the Society on matters of broad science policy; conducts periodic reviews of Society activities in areas of science policy; and selects those elements of AMS meeting programs which bear directly on policy questions that are within the purview of the Committee.

I serve as the staff support for this committee. This means that I help set the agenda for the annual meeting, and give logistic and content support throughout the year for the committee’s work.

The Committee meets for two days each spring, in Washington DC, giving us the opportunity to interact with important players in the policy arena (including congressional staff, from agencies that oversee funding in the mathematical sciences, and from other professional societies with missions with overlap to that of the AMS).[1] Our meeting this year will take place very soon — on April 15 and 16. Typical committee business includes planning for a policy session at the next Joint Mathematics Meeting, visiting Congressional offices (those of CSP member’s Senators and Representatives as well as key committee staff), and discussing AMS policies, programs and activities related to the CSP charge. On occasion, CSP brings statements to the AMS Council; one such recent example is the Policy Statement on Drawing Voting Districts and Partisan Gerrymandering, which was adopted by the Council in 2018.

In addition to the business portion of the meeting, we are looking forward to hearing from a handful of speakers who keep us up to date on legislation and other policies currently under discussion that may impact mathematics, mathematicians, and our students:

Sara Barber is a PhD physicist and professional staff member on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and on the Subcommittee on Research and Technology.[2] Last year Sara gave a great presentation on the legislative outlook for science for 2018. At that time, her party was the minority party. Following the November election, the Democrats are in the majority and we look forward to hearing a revised version of their priorities for the coming year.

Rush Holt is Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a PhD physicist and was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district from 1999 to 2015. This is the first time we will hear from him.

Kei Koizumi is the Senior Advisor for Science Policy at the AAAS. He joined AAAS in February 2017 after 8 years in the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Kei has been a regular visitor to our meetings, though has not been with us in a few years. He is a great resource on the federal investment in research.

Juan Meza holds a PhD in Computational and Applied Mathematics and is currently Director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) at the National Science Foundation. The AMS CSP always has the opportunity to hear from DMS about opportunities.

James Ricci is the 2018-19 AMS Congressional Fellow and is serving in the office of Senator Amy Klobuchar. Each year the AMS sponsors one Congressional Fellow who spends a year working on the staff in a personal office or for a committee. The Fellow is a standing presenter at our annual committee meeting, telling about her or his work in Congress, and the experience overall in the program.

Francis Slakey, the Chief Government Affairs Officer at the American Physical Society (APS), holds a PhD in physics and, in 2009, became the first person to summit the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean. Francis will speak with us about how the APS Government Affairs Office does its work within the society, and linking the society to decision-makers in DC.

The AMS CSP includes several at-large members, and also some who serve on the committee by virtue of some other position they hold within the AMS. The current at-large members of the Committee are:

  • Terrence Blackman is the Dean of the School of Science, Health, and Technology at Medgar Evers College, CUNY. He has served as Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor in the Mathematics Department at MIT. His research concerns aspects of the Jacquet-Langlands correspondence, andtouches on the areas of number theory, spectral theory, hyperbolic geometry, and algebra.
  • Jeffrey Brock is Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Science at Yale University. He recently moved from Brown University, where he chaired his department from 2013 to 2017. In 2016 he served as founding Director of Brown’s Data Science Initiative. His research focuses on low dimensional geometry and topology.
  • Edgar Fuller is Distinguished University Professor, Associate Director of the STEM Transformation Institute, and Coordinator of Undergraduate Mathematics Education at Florida International University. He recently spent almost two years as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Department of Homeland Security.
  • Wolfgang Kliemann, Iowa State University, is Interim Associate Dean. He has served as department chair for the Department of Mathematics, Associate Dean for Research for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and as the university’s Associate Vice President for Research. His research focuses on stochastic and deterministic system theory.
  • Francis Su, Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, is a Past President of the Mathematical Association of America. His research is in geometric combinatorics and applications to the social sciences.
  • Michael Vogelius, Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers University, is the current Chair of the committee. He recently served as Division Director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the NSF. His research interests lie in the areas of mathematical analysis, partial differential equations and numerical analysis.
  • Suzanne Weekes, is Professor of Mathematics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her research work is in numerical methods for differential equations including applications to spatio-temporal composites and cancer growth. She is the recipient of the 2019 Humphreys Award for Mentoring from the Association for Women in Mathematics, co-directs the national PIC Math (Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences) Program, and she is a founding co-director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Undergraduate Program (MSRI-UP).

Additional members are:

  • Kasso Okoudjou, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a member of the AMS Council and represents the Council on the committee.
  • Jill Pipher, Brown University, is the AMS President and thus sits on the committee.
  • Kenneth Ribet, University of California, Berkeley, is the AMS Immediate Past President and thus sits on the committee.
  • Catherine Roberts, American Mathematical Society, is the is the AMS Executive Director and thus sits on the committee.
  • Carla Savage, North Carolina State University, is the AMS secretary and thus sits on the committee, as a non-voting member.
  • Joseph Silverman, Brown University, is on the AMS Board of Trustees and represents the board on the committee.
  • Katherine Stevenson, California State University, is the Chair of the Committee on Education and thus sits on the committee.
  • Anthony Várilly-Alvarado, Rice University, is a member of the AMS Council and represents the Council on the committee.

How can you get involved?

 

[1] CSP meetings are invite only and typically only speakers and committee members are present.

[2] Read more about this committee and why it is important to the mathematical sciences community: https://blogs.ams.org/capitalcurrents/2019/02/16/which-members-of-congress-have-a-say-over-the-nsf/

About Karen Saxe

Karen Saxe is Director of the AMS Office of Government Relations which works to connect the mathematics community with Washington decision-makers who affect mathematics research and education. Over many years she has contributed much time to the AMS, MAA, and AWM, including service as vice president of the MAA and in policy and advocacy work with all three. She was the 2013-2014 AMS Congressional Fellow, working for Senator Al Franken on education issues, with focus on higher education and STEM education. In Minnesota she has served on the Citizens Redistricting Commission following the 2010 census and serves on the Common Cause Minnesota Redistricting Leadership Circle. She has three children and, when not at work especially enjoys being with them and reading, hiking and sharing good food and wine and beer with family and friends.
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