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Diplomacy in Action

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow Interview: Bridget Dolan, Ph.D.

Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
April 22, 2014


Bridget Dolan, Ph.D.

Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer

Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs


At the State Department, I work in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs, and I work specifically on issues that relate to the environment. That includes air pollution or protection of wildlife; it includes health issues – like prevention of the spread of avian flu – and a variety of different science and technology areas that the U.S. and China cooperate in quite regularly.

My background is in neuroscience. My degree is a Ph.D. from MIT in studying the brain. I came into the State Department because I was interested in going beyond the research just in my lab and taking my scientific expertise and also just my curiosity about the way the world works and using it in foreign policy.

I have had an opportunity to travel while here at the State Department. Because I work specifically with China, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to China on four occasions. Often it is to meet with government representatives, but other times I also get to do things like visit the panda reserve in Chengdu – and see wildlife conservation actually in action.

I’ve gained so much from my time here at the State Department. I have a much broader perspective of the world and a much better understanding of how science and the research that we do in labs has an impact on the greater world, how it affects our policymaking, and how it affects our diplomatic relations. I’ll be able to take that and apply it to a future career, hopefully something here in Washington, DC, but we’ll see.

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