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Department of Energy Adviser to Give Lecture at UT

Department of Energy Adviser to Give Lecture at UT
Mike Holland of the Department of Energy will speak about the Department’s strategies and goals in a lecture on Feb. 28.
08-0134-02DMikeHollandOMBMike Holland, Senior Advisor and Staff Director at the Office of the Under Secretary for Science at the Department of EnergyThe Science for Change lecture series brings top minds to The University of Texas at Austin to speak about how scientists advance the world’s social and economic future. Mike Holland of the Department of Energy will speak about the Department’s strategies and goals in the second of the five lectures in the series on Feb. 28.

“From the Department of Energy’s perspective, it is important that we reach out to help students understand the outstanding career opportunities available to scientists and engineers in the Federal government,” said Holland, who is the Senior Advisor and Staff Director at the Office of the Under Secretary for Science at the Department of Energy.

Holland says he has two goals for the lecture. One is to present a framework for thinking about how the Department of Energy should make investment choices. The other is to help students think about whether they might like to have a long-term role in guiding those choices. He said that as baby boomers retire, vacancies in key science and technology positions will increase.

Sacha Kopp, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Programs, and Sarah Simmons, Assistant Dean for Honors, Research and International Studies, of the College of Natural Sciences were among the team who created the lecture series.

“Our goal is to provide students a broad range of role models,” Simmons said.  “In addition to the perspectives of premier researchers like our faculty, policy makers such as the visitors in this series offer students concrete examples of how graduates with scientific or technical skills can positively impact society.”

Simmons added that students who don’t think academia is in their future often undervalue their education because they are unaware of what their science training can offer on the outside.

“Many policy makers make decisions about science but have little or no understanding of it, and we want students to know they could be the ones making those decisions,” she said. “I want students to graduate knowing their science background has something to add to more than just one sector.”

Future speakers in the series include Deborah Koolbeck, Vice President at the Council on Competitiveness and former Legislative Director in Congresswoman Barbara Lee's office, and Neal Lane, former Director of the National Science Foundation.

“Science and technology are at the core of our nation's prosperity,” said Kopp. “For that prosperity to continue, our nation's scientists are needed to provide not just the science itself but the leadership as well.”

Besides realizing other opportunities, Simmons thinks these speakers have some very interesting things to say, and they give students a snapshot into the lives of people who are using science for things other than academia.

“Personally, I can say my training as a chemist has prepared me well for some really interesting assignments working for the Federal government,” Holland added. “I’ve worked in White House agencies during the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations, for Congress and now for the Department of Energy.  I’ve worked on topics as varied as polar icebreakers, supercomputers, x-ray lasers, and space telescopes.  But, I’ve also worked on some very practical things, like the program that produces radioactive and stable isotopes for medical diagnostics and treatment among other uses.”

Holland’s lecture will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the AVAYA Auditorium (ACES 2.302).

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Friday, 22 September 2017

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