Eye on Washington: IEEE-USA ACTIVITIES on and around the Hill

BY Sharon Richardson Posted: 1 Jun 2012



Each year, IEEE-USA sponsors government fellowships for IEEE’s U.S. members. The fellows—chosen by the IEEE-USA Government Fellows Committee and confirmed by the IEEE-USA Board of Directors—spend a year in Washington serving as advisors to the U.S. Congress and to key U.S. Department of State decision-makers. The program provides a mechanism for IEEE members to learn firsthand about the public policy process—while imparting their knowledge and experience to policymakers. Below are the latest IEEE-USA Government Fellows.

2011 Congressional Fellow Dr. Patrick Meyer began his fellowship with Representative Jay Inslee, D-Wash. Dr. Meyer was assigned the following issues: alternative fuel vehicles, energy efficiency and smart grid. Dr. Meyer is now one of IEEE-USA’s 2012 Engineering and Diplomacy Fellows working with the Energy Transformation Team in the new U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Energy Resources.

2012 Congressional Fellow Leslie Martinich is working in the office of Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and she is assigned to NASA and space, judiciary, small business, environment and EPA, innovation, cybersecurity and clean tech issues.

2011/2012 Engineering and Diplomacy Fellow Dr. Umesh Thakkar received a placement for the Foreign Affairs Office at the U.S. Department of State as senior general engineer, U.S. Government Accountability. Dr. Thakkar is continuing his Fellowship with the U.S. Department of State through 2012.

2011 Engineering and Diplomacy Fellow Rebecca Taylor was placed at the U.S. Department of State as a senior advisor, innovation and entrepreneurship. She was assigned as the Western Hemisphere point of contact for science and technology exchanges; World Bank investments projects; telecommunications/Internet technology treaty negotiations related to ITU; advisory services to USAID entrepreneurship program called DIV and Arms Control Verification and Leading Edge Technology. At the State Department’s request, Taylor is continuing her work there through 2012.

2012 Engineering and Diplomacy Fellow Dr. Richard Bernardi was placed at the U.S. Department of State as a senior advisor, OES/ENV U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development.

Application forms for the 2014 fellowships will be available online at the end of 2012.


Below are public policy communications recently made on or behalf of IEEE-USA:

17 April—Letter to USPTO providing comments on proposed rules regarding patent trials, patent derivation, inter partes review, post-grant review and covered business methods patent review.
12 April—Letter to USPTO providing comments on proposed rules regarding business method patents.
3 April—Letter to USCIS director urging opportunity for public comment on proposed interpretative guidance on L-1B visa "specialized knowledge" requirement.
29 March—Letter to OMB urging a regulatory impact analysis (“RIA”) prior to rule-making by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on patent fees.
5 March—Comment to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on proposed regulations concerning patent appeals.
23 Feb.—Testimony by Ron Katznelson at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hearing on patent fee setting.
14 Feb.—CNSF coalition letter to the U.S. House of Representatives opposing the Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act of 2012 (HR 3433).
10 Feb.—K-12 STEM coalition letter to Rep. Kline urging retention of science testing requirements in ESEA reauthorization legislation (H.R. 3989/H.R. 3990).
1 Feb.—Letter to House and Senate conferees urging reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including FAA’s next generation air transportation system.
31 Jan.—Letter to House and Senate leaders urging extension of the R&D Tax Credit.
31 Jan.—Letter to Chairman Mica and House Committee on Transportation Committee members urging support for intelligent transportation systems in the anticipated transportation reauthorization bill.


Below are position statements the IEEE-USA Board of Directors recently approved:

Remote Sensing
Upgrading the National Airspace System
National Energy Policy Recommendations

Sharon Richardson is IEEE-USA’s communications coordinator and editorial assistant for IEEE-USA in ACTION.

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