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Ten Interns Chosen for Technical Policy Program

By Trudy Liu
Staff Reporter

Ten students have been selected for the first MIT Washington Internship Program. They will spend the summer working in the nation's capital as interns in the field of public technical policy related to their majors.

In addition to working this summer, the interns will attend a policy-making seminar that will start later this semester and continue in the fall. Some students will also travel to Washington during spring break.

This first group of interns is: Kevin A. Agatstein '97, Regina C. Cheung '96, Anthony Y. Ku '97, Anand R. Radhakrishnan '96, Gary M. Rubman '96, Nidhi R. Shah '96, Ameet Singh '96, Elizabeth A. Stoehr '96, Cyrus N. Wadia '96, and Donghoon Yeum '96.

Together, they span major from biology, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and mechanical engineering.

The program was started as a response to people's concerns about the relationship between technology and government, said Professor of Political Science Charles Stewart III, the administrator of the program.

"Politicians don't always understand scientists and engineers, and vice versa," said Stewart, who also serves as both the undergraduate and graduate administrator in the Department of Political Science.

"Since the decline of the cold war, there has been less of an obvious reason for the government to support science and engineering," Stewart said. "Many emerging technological areas run up against government regulations very fast. A dual literacy is useful; it would be good to have scientists and engineers involved in the policy debate."

Solid technical backgrounds

The program sought out students "with solid science and engineering technical backgrounds in terms of coursework, a sense of commitment, and interest in public policy issues," Stewart said.

"The program is a great opportunity to experience political science in action," said Agatstein, who is minoring in political science. After graduating from MIT, he is interested in attending law school or entering a field involving policy-making, Agatstein said.

"The internship in Washington, D.C., is a neat way to get into government," said Cheung. "It is something I've never done before and I think it would be a good way to spend my summer."

Stewart said he hopes there will be enough funding to continue the program in future years. "I see this year as the demonstration project, to show that there is interest in technical policy and that there are enthusiastic students who want to participate," he said.