Staff and Contact Information
Vaughan Turekian, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State
Frances Colón, Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State
Joyce Brown, Staff Assistant
Genya Dana, Senior Science Policy Officer
Irina Pala, Foreign Affairs Officer
LaShauna Evans, Foreign Affairs Officer
Megan Frisk, 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:
Dr. Vaughan Turekian assumed his role as the fifth Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State on September 8, 2015. In this capacity, he advises the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment on international environment, science, technology, and health matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States. Dr. Turekian draws upon his background in atmospheric chemistry and extensive policy experience to promote science, technology, and engineering as integral components of U.S. diplomacy.
Prior to becoming the Science and Technology Adviser, Dr. Turekian was Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Director of AAAS’s Center for Science Diplomacy (2006 – 2015). In this capacity he worked to build bridges between nations based on shared scientific goals, placing special emphasis on regions where traditional political relationships are strained or do not exist. As Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, an online quarterly publication, he published original policy pieces that have served to inform international science policy recommendations. In addition, Turekian worked at the State Department as Special Assistant and Adviser to the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (2002 – 2006) on issues related to sustainable development, climate change, environment, energy, science, technology, and health. Also, he served as Program Director for the Committee on Global Change Research at the National Academy of Sciences (2000 – 2002) where he was study director for a White House report on climate change science.
Dr. Turekian holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics and International Studies from Yale University (1993) and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he used stable isotopes to trace the sources of and processes of aerosols in the marine boundary layer. A former AAAS fellow himself, Dr. Turekian not only brings both technical expertise and 14 years of policy experience to the position, but also a decorated track-record and steadfast commitment to utilizing our nation’s capital in science and technology innovation to advance U.S. diplomacy.
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 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.
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.
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.
LaShauna C. Evans, Ph.D. is a 2016-2017 AAAS Science and Technology Fellow servings as a Foreign Affairs Officer in STAS. She is responsible for several portfolios, including Women in STEM and Networks for Diasporas in Engineering and Science (NODES)—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. Dr. Evans obtained a B.S. in Biology from Spelman College and Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Because of her interest in obstetrical research, she studied the effect of maternal hypoxia on the fetal heart at Maryland. Before coming to the Department of State, she was a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where she studied the effect of maternal obesity on the placenta. Evans enthusiastically seeks to develop policies and strategies that will enhance developing scientists and innovators in the 21st century.
Dr. Megan L. Frisk is currently an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow, serving as a Foreign Affairs Officer in STAS. She works at the intersection of science and policy, focusing on emerging technologies and innovation that could have an impact on foreign policy in addition to economic, social, and political landscapes. Prior to joining the State Department, Dr. Frisk was a senior editor at Science’s sister journal, Science Translational Medicine, handling the bioengineering research and science policy articles, and the editor of Trends in Biotechnology, a Cell Press review journal. Dr. Frisk obtained a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research focused on the development of sensing technologies for potential biological threats as well as the design of microfluidic devices for enumeration and characterization of circulating tumor cells, ultimately as a tool for clinical cancer management.