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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Staff and Contact Information

Frances Colón, (Acting) Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State
Joyce Brown, Staff Assistant
Genya Dana, Senior Science Policy Officer
Chad Jackson, Foreign Affairs Officer
Lawrence Lin, Foreign Affairs Officer
Irina Pala, Foreign Affairs Officer
Afua Riverson, Foreign Affairs Officer

Office of the Science and Technology Adviser
Room 3240, Department of State
2201 C Street NW.
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-8725
Fax: (202) 647-5136

For general information or assistance, please e-mail us at:

Date: 04/09/2014 Description: Office of the Science and Technology Adviser: Dr. Frances Colon (2014) - State Dept Image

Frances Colón
Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State

Dr. Frances Colón is the Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State where she promotes integration of science and technology into foreign policy dialogues; global scientific engagement for capacity-building; advancement of women in science; and innovation as a tool for economic growth around the world. Previously, Dr. Colón served the U.S. Department of State as the Science and Environment Adviser at the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau where she was responsible for advising on environmental and scientific issues that affected the U.S. Government's foreign policy objectives in the Americas. During that time, Dr. Colón coordinated climate change policy for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas announced by President Obama in 2009. As a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow (2006-2008), Dr. Colón led the OES Bureau’s program for Muslim world outreach through K-12 science and math education cooperation. Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2004 from Brandeis University and her B.S. in biology in 1997 from the University of Puerto Rico.

Joyce Brown
Staff Assistant

Joyce Brown has worked at the U.S. Department of State since 1999, and has served as an staff assistant in the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary since 2007. Mrs. Brown performs a variety of office management and administrative tasks in support of the STAS office.

Date: 04/09/2014 Description: Office of the Science and Technology Adviser: Genya Dana - State Dept Image

Genya V. Dana
Senior Science Policy Officer

Genya V. Dana is currently a Senior Science Policy Officer in STAS, where she covers Africa science & technology issues, emerging biotechnologies, the post-2015 development agenda process, and manages the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships and the Jefferson Science Fellows Program for the Department. She was previously a AAAS Fellow in the Department’s Office of Conservation and Water. Her scientific training is in ecological risk assessment of emerging technologies (particularly biotechnology) and stakeholder engagement in risk governance.

Prior to her AAAS fellowship, she split her time between an Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE) postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she assisted with stakeholder engagement in nanotechnology research strategy development, and an appointment as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, where she tested methodologies for evaluating the environmental risks of synthetic biology applications. She was also a Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies of Science in 2011. She completed a Ph.D. in ecological risk assessment and M.Sc. in science, technology and environmental policy at the University of Minnesota’s Conservation Biology Program and Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, respectively.

Date: 10/2014 Description: Chad Jackson  - State Dept Image

Chad R. Jackson
Foreign Affairs Officer

Chad R. Jackson, Ph.D. is a 2014-2015 AAAS Science and Technology Fellow, serving as a Foreign Affairs Officer in STAS. His position stands at the intersection between science and policy, working within a wide range of U.S. and international partners to scan the horizon for emerging and transformational technologies, and entrepreneurs that are likely to have significant effects on political and economic landscapes. Dr. Jackson has a wide range of scientific interests that includes neuroscience, nanotechnology, molecular and cellular biology, big data, and information technologies.

Dr. Jackson obtained a B.A. in Biochemistry in 2002 from Earlham College in Richmond, IN and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Systems Pharmacology from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Before coming to the Department of State, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University with a focus in visual neuroscience. His long-term career goals lie in policy and programmatic development as a means to enhance our nation’s overall infrastructure, and to promote scientific diplomacy, increasing scientific and technological innovations across the globe.

Lawrence Lin-Physical Sciences Specialist and AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow

Lawrence Lin
Foreign Affairs Officer

Lawrence Lin is a foreign affairs officer in the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary (STAS) at the Department of State and was formerly an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in the same office. Prior to his current assignment, Lawrence was a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences where he worked on the initial phases of a comprehensive energy technology study titled America's Energy Future.

Lawrence completed his Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara in June of 2006. His graduate research involved the use of simplified elastic models of biological membranes in theoretical calculations and computational simulations as a means for studying the role of membrane undulations in various biophysical processes. He completed his undergraduate studies at Brown University where he wrote a thesis in the area of cosmology and large scale structure of the universe.

Date: 2015 Description: Dr. Irina Pala - State Dept Image

Irina Pala
Foreign Affairs Officer

Dr. Irina Pala is a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, serving as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State (E/STAS) Office of the U.S. Department of State. She is responsible for managing the Networks of Diasporas in Engineering and Science, a partnership between the U.S. Department of State, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) that seeks to support diaspora knowledge networks. She is also involved in managing the Urbanization portfolio, exploring the nexus of science and technology for sustainable urban development. She also works closely with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the US Agency for International Development to manage the U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Partnership.

Dr. Pala obtained a B.A. in Chemistry in 2006 from University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2012 from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Before coming to the Department of State, she was a NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, where she worked on thin film transparent conductive materials and new recharging battery chemistries and architectures. Her research has involved collaborations with international partners and has included field work with US and international students. Dr. Pala has published research articles in high-impact journals and given numerous presentations at national and international scientific conferences.


Date: 06/02/2014 Description: Afua Riverson, Foreign Affairs Officer, OES/STEM - State Dept Image

Afua Riverson
Foreign Affairs Officer

Afua Riverson is a Foreign Affairs Officer, under the Pathways Program who currently covers the NeXXt Scholars Program, which equips the next generation of young women scientists from countries with Muslim majority populations to pursue science; technology, engineering, and math (STEM) undergraduate degrees at U.S. women’s colleges. Ms. Riverson also manages public outreach efforts around science diplomacy and the co-leads the Africa portfolio for the STAS Office. Previously, Ms. Riverson served in the Office of Environment and Global Climate Change and the Office of International Health and Biodefense, on outreach efforts on global health, climate change related grants and interagency agreement compliance. Afua again, assisted in the creation of the first-ever secure electronic hub of Bureau wide official documents ensuring 24/7 access for all 55+ bureaus of the Department of State by providing documents, data, and research of health related issues to contribute to the hub.

Afua has a BS degree from Virginia State University and is currently completing a Masters in Public Policy – International Affairs at George Mason University. Ms. Riverson serves on the Executive Board for the Executive Women at State affinity group and is an avid volunteer.


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