STPP gift to expand educational opportunities for undergraduates

March 22, 2023

The Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program has received a $250,000 gift to expand educational opportunities for undergraduates across campus. The gift comes from Phil (LSA ’87) and Julie (LSA ’88) Hollyer, parents of Keegan (Ford BA ’20). In the short term, the grant enables the STPP program to hire an education program manager, who will focus on identifying needs and creating new undergraduate programs. The program manager will also oversee STPP’s pioneering graduate certificate program, and develop new STPP-oriented educational activities for postdoctoral fellows, mid-career STEM and policy professionals, and community organizers.

The centerpiece of STPP’s work is a graduate certificate program, which currently enrolls around 100 Masters and PhD students from across the University, training them to develop competency in the ethical, political, social, and equity dimensions of science, technology, and related public policies. The program’s graduates go on to careers in government, industry, academia, the law, and civil society. STPP also has a vibrant lecture series, a podcast, and an applied research program. In 2022, it released a massive open online course on Justice and Equity in Technology Policy and established the Community Partnerships Initiative, which provides research support, written briefs and reports, and strategic consulting to civil society organizations as they advocate for technology, science, and related public policies that serve their needs.  

“There is growing recognition of the importance of good science and technology policymaking,” says STPP director Shobita Parthasarathy. “We are thrilled that this commitment from Phil and Julie allows us to expand our educational activities particularly to undergraduates, who are confronting a world fundamentally shaped by technology and science–whether ChatGPT or Tiktok–and are eager to ensure that it is harnessed for public good.”

Phil’s career was shaped by the advent of the personal computer and commercialization of the internet which lead to him co-founding Bounteous, a technology and marketing innovation agency, in 2003.

Reflecting on the gift, he said, “Julie and I have watched the impact that technology has had on society over the past twenty plus years. After our youngest son graduated from the Ford School in 2020, we were looking for a way to have an impact at the intersection of policy and technology. Since then we have gotten to know the work being done by the STPP team and we were very excited about the possibility of extending their reach further into the undergraduate realm. We can’t think of anything more important as social media, AI and gene technology will have a powerful influence on the future of mankind.”