Dr. Noël Bakhtian's Life as a Science Policy Wonk

September 20th, 2018

Last Friday’s Log Lunch featured Dr. Noël Bakhtian, the Director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, a research and education consortium bringing together the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory and the four public research universities in Idaho and Wyoming.

She shared her educational and professional career road-map with lunchers. Previously, she served in Washington D.C. in a variety of science policy roles, including as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (under the Obama administration!).

She got several fellowships to which she credits the variety and awesomeness of her many roles, including the AAAS fellowship. In addition, Dr. Bakhtian says that in order to enact change , students should get out of the academic bubble, take a class, vote, interact with others in your field. Run for office. Write white papers and articles. The possibilities are endless, and abound.


—-Jane Tekin, ’19

Dr. Bakhtian holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, completed at the Advanced Supercomputing Division at NASA Ames Research Center, where she developed a potentially enabling technology for high-mass Mars landings. She holds masters degrees from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge, where she was a Churchill Scholar, and completed a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Duke University. Dr. Bakhtian was selected as the 11th most powerful female engineer by Business Insider in 2018.