Science, Policy and Citizenship Program

Community Based

This program provides an important opportunity for high school age and above students (in Fairfax VA, Phoenix AZ, Seattle WA, Dhaka Bangladesh) to learn and engage in emerging science and engineering issues from the citizen’s perspective – to consider the social and ethical issues that may accompany complex science meets policy issues like geoengineering, synthetic biology, climate change and energy transition.

Participatory Technology Assessment


Educational: Teach students about the transformative impact of science and engineering at a grand scale and the role experts, citizens and lawmakers play in resolving them.

Research: Test the efficacy of methods, technology and processes of using participatory technology assessment as a decision-making tool in science and technology policy.

Outreach: Demonstrate that the public can be effectively engaged – even at a young age – to formulate and express informed ideas that contribute to democratic approaches in dealing with technology and society.

"Thank you for organizing this opportunity. It was a great way to not only develop our opinions about a technology, but also to take part in and understand a political process." - Sapir Nachum, Student Participant and Senior, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

High Level Impact: 

"The Climate Geoengineering Participatory Technology Assessment is an exciting, innovative project to get top-rate high school students thinking through not just the science and technology behind the very troublesome and complicated topic of geoengineering but all the other aspects involved, including ethical and policy considerations. These students are researching in depth one particular geoengineering possibility and are tasked with developing their own position and defending it in front of a panel of professionals, in a mock congressional hearing. This whole process is one giant step toward having these students become the type of informed, thinking citizens that the world desperately needs." - Claire Parkinson, Expert Participant and Climatologist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

"This project has provided an excellent opportunity for my students to model real-world problem solving. It’s been exciting to watch the students go from their initial face-to-face deliberation to the online discussion board where they’ve been able to engage with experts in the field and critically think about geoengineering and potential future implications of this technology. With this exercise, I see my students starting to appreciate the challenges of policy making. Next week they will have the ultimate policy making challenge: they will have to make a decision." - Melissa Schoeplein, Project Facilitator and Science Policy Program Coordinator, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Point of Contact: 

Mahmud Farooque,