Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University Professor Dr. Maria Carranza appointed AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523
AAAS: Kat Song,, 202.326.6614

Westfield – Westfield State University Assistant Professor of Chemistry Maria G. Carranza, Ph.D., has been awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (STPF) with a placement at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) INCLUDES office for the 2019–20 academic year.

Dr. Carranza is among 278 highly trained scientists and engineers who will spend a year serving professionally in federal agencies and congressional offices. The U.S. government benefits from the contributions of STPF fellows while fellows learn first-hand about federal policymaking and implementation. As a fellow, Dr. Carranza will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on a broad range of policy and program issues and concerns, including her areas of interest — STEM education, diversity and inclusion.

“We are happy to welcome the 47th class of Science & Technology Policy Fellows this fall,” said STPF Director Jennifer Pearl. “The incoming class of fellows are on their way to making a big step forward in advancing science and society.”

The fellowship program is operated as part of the AAAS mission to advance science and serve society. The program aims to support evidence-based policymaking by engaging the knowledge and analytical mindset of science and engineering experts, and foster leaders for a strong U.S. science and technology enterprise. Fellows represent a broad range of disciplines, backgrounds and career stages.

“The AAAS NSF Science and Technology Policy Fellows program only accepts a dozen or two scientists into the program each year, so we are extremely happy that Dr. Carranza was chosen for this opportunity,” said Christopher Masi, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Westfield State Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences. “Further, that Dr. Carranza will be working in the NSF INCLUDES office to expand opportunities in chemistry to underrepresented groups makes us extremely proud.”

The 2019–20 class is comprised of 278 fellows sponsored by AAAS and partner societies. Of these, 33 will serve in Congress and 245 in the executive branch among 19 federal agencies or departments.

Since the program’s inception in 1973, more than 3,000 fellows have supported the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the U.S. government seeding every corner of Washington and beyond with a high caliber of scientific know-how. After the fellowship, many fellows remain in the policy arena working at the federal, state, regional or international level. Others pursue careers in industry or the nonprofit sector. Those who choose academia often teach or mentor students to understand the policy context for research and the importance of science communication.

INCLUDES, one of NSF's Ten Big Ideas for Future Investment, is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership STEM discoveries and innovations by focusing on broadening participation in these fields at scale. The vision of NSF INCLUDES is to catalyze the STEM enterprise to collaboratively work toward a STEM workforce that reflects the diversity of the Nation. Carranza hopes to utilize her expertise as a researcher, chemist, and STEM educator to advance the mission and goals of the office of NSF INCLUDES.

“I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious fellowship program and looking forward to learning about federal policymaking at the National Science Foundation. It is critically important for scientists to engage in the policy realm and contribute their skills and expertise toward the resolution of today's most pressing challenges,” said Dr. Carranza.

Dr. Carranza has served as a faculty member at Westfield State since 2016. Prior to her appointment, she was an assistant professor of chemistry at Dominican University of California, where she mentored undergraduate researchers in the field of medicinal chemistry. She synthesized new drug candidates and studied the interaction of those compounds with their biological targets. Her research currently focuses on the development of new anticancer drugs with increased specificity and improved effectiveness for the treatment of breast cancer.

A graduate of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala with a B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences, she earned a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Baylor University.

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, see

Visit to learn more about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.


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