Fifteen years ago, Barbara Allen, professor and co-director of the Science, Technology and Society (STS) program in the National Capital Region, helped found the STGlobal Consortium. Its mission is to inspire and challenge graduate students to contribute to the forefront of research on science and technology policy and social issues and to foster mutual understanding in the science and technology community.

The consortium is celebrating its 15th anniversary during the 2015 STGlobal Science and Technology in Society Conference set for Friday and Saturday in Washington, D.C. Held annually, the conference attracts about 80 graduate students from around the world to present their research on issues related to science policy and studies, technology, and society. 

“I initially got involved with STGlobal as a way of mentoring Virginia Tech Ph.D. students interested in science and technology policy,” Allen said. “But over the past decade and a half, it has grown significantly, becoming an international means of networking for the next generation of science policymakers.

“Today it is a unique organization in the fact that it is student-governed — managed by graduate student volunteers for graduate students,” said Allen, who will serve as a panel moderator at this year’s conference.

The STGlobal Consortium currently includes Arizona State University, Drexel University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Virginia Tech. 

Institutional partners include the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academies. The 2015 conference also is sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Partnership for Global Security, 4S, The Museum of Crime and Punishment, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Basic Research Innovation Collaboration Center, a partnership intermediary provided by the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Jennifer Carter of Centreville, Virginia, and Bryn Whitley of  Blacksburg, Virginia, both doctoral students in the Science and Technology Studies program, chair the conference's planning committee. (Carter also serves as associate director of Continuing and Professional Education at Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region.)

Three other Virginia Tech students, Philip Egert of Hampton, Virginia; Dan Miller of Woodbridge, Virginia; and Chelsea Ford-Gladieux of Fairfax, Virginia, all doctoral students in the science and technology program, serve on the planning committee. (Egert and Miller are students in the National Capital Region.)

David J. Hess, director of Environmental and Sustainability Studies and associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment at Vanderbilt University; Mark S. Loepker, information assurance directorate representative to NSA Legislative Affairs Office; and Alma Wickenden, chair of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Open Campus Technical Advisory Committee, are keynote speakers.

This year, STGlobal’s call for conference papers featured new methods for proposing research areas for review. Students could submit abstracts as part of a panel, paper presentation, or informational poster. While panels and paper presentations were open only to graduate students, poster presentations were selected from submissions for exceptional work from undergraduates as well as graduate students.

Carter, Egert, and Miller are among the 55 graduate students making presentations. Other students from Virginia Tech on presentation panels include: Eman Badr of Cairo, Egypt, a doctoral student in computer science; Charles de Souza of New York, New York; John Bozeman of Herndon, Virginia; Mel Eulau of Fairfax, Virginia; Richard Hilberer of Woodbridge, Virginia; Kristen Koopman of Blacksburg, Virginia; Chrissy Vu of Falls Church, Virginia; and Edward Wolfgang of Ashburn, Virginia, all doctoral students in the Science and Technology Studies program. (Badr and de Souza are students in the National Capital Region.)

Joining Allen as Virginia Tech faculty moderators for the student presentation panels are Janet Abbate, associate professor and program co-director, and Sonja Schmid, assistant professor, Science, Technology, and Society program in the National Capital Region; and Rebecca Hester, who will join the faculty in Blacksburg as an assistant professor this fall.

Additionally, Susan Willis Walton, director of the Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research, will speak on the Research Methodology panel.

Representatives from leading government, non-government, and industry from a coinciding expo will be on hand to describe projects and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities.

Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Email Jennifer Carter with inquiries.