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Washington, DC - Outsiders

  • Busboys and Poets, 5th and K 1025 5th Street NW Washington, DC (map)


What's it like to be on the outside looking in? Whether you're a metal head who finds himself at a scientific conference or a glaciologist giving first aid to a seal, we all have stories about feeling like we're a little out of our comfort zone. This month we bring you stories of trying to find our place, whether in or through science, as outsiders. 

Hosted by Shane M Hanlon and Farah Z Ahmad.

Stories by: 

Astrid in Alaska.jpg

Astrid Caldas is a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, where her work focuses on climate change adaptation and science communication, with practical policy implications for ecosystems, the economy, and society . She was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she started her career as an ecologist, working with insects for most of her academic life. After moving to the United States (Washington, DC area) in 1996, she (unsurprisingly!) started developing a deeper interest in policy. She has a lifelong passion for butterflies and moths, which she has studied for many years and likes to use as models to raise awareness of climate and land use changes. She blogs for The Huffington Post and tweets under the handle @climategeek.


Richard Johnson plays in three metal bands and runs a music blog called Disposable Underground. He's also a fan of space science and will enthusiastically attend the People's Climate Movement march and the March for Science in Washington DC. He lives and works in Arlington, Virginia.



Gifford Wong is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow working at the Department of State. He previously served in the Senate as the American Geosciences Institute Congressional Geoscience Fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College, his Honours in Antarctic Studies from the University of Tasmania at Hobart, and his Bachelor’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He has done fieldwork in Greenland and Antarctica, co-developed and co-instructed a graduate-level science communication course at Dartmouth, and thinks penguins and unicorns are cool. Every now and again he is on Twitter as @giffordwong.


Maureen Boyle is the Chief of the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA. She is a neuroscientist who has spent the last 7 years working on behavioral healthcare reform and drug policy. Prior to joining NIDA she was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.  Before getting involved in policy she studied the biological basis of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. When she wants to get out of her brain she runs, does yoga, and tries to apply Pavlov's lessons to her bulldog puppy. 


Ian Simon is a Science Policy Analyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He earned his PhD in microbiology at Yale before moving into science policy. He spent time as a Senior Associate at the Asia Institute, a Congressional Fellow, and a Foreign Affairs officer at Department of State. 

Earlier Event: March 9
Los Angeles