I volunteered with CSPC from 2015 to 2016, having joined the conference’s volunteer team as a recently-qualified lawyer looking to learn more about the Canadian science and innovation policy space. During my time as a volunteer, I cochaired CSPC’s Social Media Committee and also served as a member of the conference’s Editorial and Outreach committees. Through my time with CSPC, I led the development and implementation of the conference’s social media strategy, helped curate expert opinion pieces for CSPC’s website, and worked to raise awareness of the conference through various other channels.
My volunteer term with CSPC came at a particularly interesting and important time for science and innovation policy in Canada, as it coincided with the 2015 federal election. Despite being a lifelong current-affairs buff who had also completed a STEM degree, I was not well-versed in the area of STEM policy, and I really appreciated that volunteering with CSPC gave me a front-row seat to topical issues in Canadian science and innovation policy. In addition to bringing me up to speed on the latest debates in Canadian STEM policy, my work with CSPC gave me a deeper appreciation for the importance of evidence-based policy, as well as the interconnectedness of science and society.
Volunteering with CSPC was also a superb networking experience that helped me connect with both fellow early-career professionals as well as leaders in the science-policy field. I really enjoyed getting to know the CSPC leadership team, working with other volunteers, and interacting with CSPC speakers in the lead-up to the conference. It was clear from early on that I was working with a group of likeminded people who shared the same interests and values!
My CSPC volunteer term was a formative experience for my career. Volunteering with CSPC helped affirm my passion for public policy, which led me to a position in digital health strategy and policy with the Ontario Ministry of Health, where I have been ever since. I love working as a policymaker, and my time with CSPC helped put me on the path to get there. Volunteering with CSPC is something I would recommend to anyone interested in potentially building a career in STEM policy.
More broadly, my time as a policymaker has only made me more appreciative of the critical role CSPC plays in bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds to engage in nonpartisan dialogue about issues in Canadian science and innovation policy. I’m so proud of the CSPC team for all they have accomplished over the past 15 years; here’s to 15 more!