Each year, outstanding engineering students are selected to spend nine weeks in Washington, D.C., learning about the public policy process, including how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues, and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions. While in Washington, the students interact with leaders in Congress, the administration, industry, and prominent non-governmental organizations. Meetings with congressional committees, executive office departments, and corporate government affairs offices are daily activities.
In addition, each student researches, writes and presents a paper on a topical engineering-related public policy issue that is important to the sponsoring society. This year, the 2013 WISE Interns presented their papers on 31 July, on Capitol Hill, at the Rayburn House Office Building. IEEE-USA interns Turner Cotterman, an electrical engineering student at Clemson University, studied energy storage technologies and their potential to reshape the nation’s intelligent electrical infrastructure. Cotterman presented a report on Energy Storage Technologies: Transforming America’s Intelligent Electrical Infrastructure.
Alexandra Nilles, an engineering physics student at The Colorado School of Mines, investigated how government can facilitate data management strategies for the smart grid, while focusing on efficiency, security and privacy. Nilles spoke on Teaching the Smart Grid: Why Data Management is Essential to the Future of Electricity.
And Lucas Wadman, an electrical engineering major who is minoring in biomedical engineering and mathematics at Colorado State University, studied and presented a report on the current state of internet governance affairs worldwide, technical and political challenges in that area, and policy alternatives to maintain the U.S. status as an internet technology innovator and leader. Wadman’s presentation was on Splinternet versus open Internet: Policy recommendations for the American position in international Internet governance negotiations. Click here to read the 2013 WISE presentations.
IEEE-USA Public Policy Log
The following is a sample of the chronological log (19 April ” 23 July) of public policy communications made by, or on behalf of, IEEE-USA (and other organizational units with IEEE) during the 113th Congress, 1st Session (2013), including testimonies, statements submitted for the record of congressional hearings, formal comments provided in response to public or regulatory notices, letters to federal policy-makers forwarding recommendations on public policy issues, Legislative Alerts, and similar notices. Current Action Alerts can be accessed by IEEE members visa IEEE-USA Legislative Action Center.
- 23 Jul: Letter to all Members of Congress circulating IEEE-USA’s 2013 National Energy Policy Recommendations.
- 11 Jul: Coalition letter to Senators Leahy and Grassley and Reps. Goodlatte and Conyers urging public hearings on any future reforms proposed to the U.S. patent system.
- 10 Jul: Letter to Senator Gillibrand and Reps. Tonko and Kennedy endorsing the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act (S. 1178/H.R.2426).
- 10 Jul: Letter to Chair and Ranking Members of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology forwarding IEEE-USA Position on Improving Spectrum Policy Deliberations as background, in support of hearing on “Improving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Process”.
- 1 Jul: Petition to Federal Communications Commission requesting classification of frequency spectrum above 95 HGz as a “new technology or service.”
- 29 May: Coalition letter to Senator Reid and selected Senate leaders urging legislative guidance exempting Federal Employee travel to S&T-related conferences from restrictions outlined in OMB Directive M-12-12.
- 20 May: Coalition (CNSF) letter to Rep. Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology, expressing concerns regarding congressional actions that call into question the National Science Foundation’s merit review process.
- 6 May: Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders expressing support for the high-skill provisions of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744).
- 19 Apr: Coalition letter to Senate leaders and key House and Senate committees forwarding a set of principles for the upcoming reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.
Board Approved Petitions Statements
IEEE-USA position statements identify important technical and/or engineering career-related aspects of specific public policy issues deemed to be of concern or affecting IEEE’s U.S. members. They make specific public policy recommendations and provide recommended approaches for consideration by the U.S. Congress, executive branch officials, the judiciary, representatives of state and local government, and other interested groups and individuals, including IEEE members.
Following is a sampling of IEEE-USA position statements:
- Continued Professional Competence of IEEE’s U.S. Members (Feb. 2013)
- Educational Requirements for Engineering Licensure (Feb. 2013)
- The Use of the Title “Engineer” (Feb. 2013)
- Non-Discriminatory Patent Legislation (June 2013)
- The U.S. Patent Office and Patent Administration (June 2013)
- Enhancing Coordination of Federal, Regional, State and Local Innovation Activities (June 2013)
Sharon Richardson is IEEE-USA’s communications coordinator, and editorial assistant for IEEE-USA in ACTION.