Science and technology professional, strategic thinker, consensus builder and change-maker.
Senior Science Policy Advisor
- Public Speaking
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Serving on a Board
- Career Opportunities
- Leadership Opportunities
Communication, strategic vision, policy generation, ideation, design/vision implementation
An accomplished professional with a broad portfolio of technical program and policy development expertise relevant to the priorities in United States and International science community. She has a M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering with a specialty in molecular and microbiology. Jayne has demonstrated a career working across stakeholders to foster engagement, create strategic vision and build consensus on a range of technical program and public policy areas including environmental health, public health and safety and law enforcement. Her career journey has taken her from leading national science and technology (S&T) strategic policy development as civil servant in the Executive Office of the President during the Obama Administration to working remotely on science policy in Chinook, Montana! She considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to hone skills in fostering common vision, strategic roadmap development, facilitation, active collaboration and communication across sectors, industries and stakeholders on numerous critical national issues. Jayne is adept at assessing data needs, knowledge gaps to foster confident decision-making founded on scientific evidence. Her technical research portfolio has enabled measurement assurance in the fields of biological science, complex microbial systems and ecosystems, and natural and engineered environmental systems.
Jayne is passionate about women in STEM and fostering a culture of inclusive innovation – creating environments and leadership opportunities to promote teams that thrive and make diversity of thought essential to all innovative efforts. She believes in the people of Montana. The grit, creativity and perseverance of Montanans is a national asset and foundational to empowering our innovation potential in our home state and around the globe.
How I Want to Participate in PowerHouse
Jayne is here to mentor, be mentored, share my experience and offer my expertise to anyone who wishes to contact me. She warmly welcomes any opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the amazing people in the state she so fondly call home.
What motivates and inspires you?
Each day we are blessed with a chance to positively mark our impact on the world and to be grateful for the gifts we have been given. I am inspired by the vast Montana sky and all the creativity happening beneath it. With each deep breath, cold and clean or warm and sweet, of Montana air I am inspired to take a step forward and do good work that benefits Montana, our nation and the world.
Who are your personal ‘Sheroes’/Female Role-Models?
Working in a field that is dominated by men it is surprising to say that every day I find myself surrounded by women I truly admire. Interestingly I used to host a meeting of women science leaders in government called the Sheroes! Those inspiring women included the chief scientists at NASA and the State Department as well as diversity and human capital officers from across government that are passionate about creative women leaders including one who also sings opera on the side. All amazing women. Each one has blessed me with their advice, insight and ability to see opportunity for positive change in the careers of women scientists. Currently, I am honored to live in a community on the hi-line were strong, positive women leaders– from the minister of our church, women I volunteer with on community boards, my neighbors, friends and colleagues – stand out against the backdrop of the vast sky by living lives that I greatly admire. Being back in Montana has given me the opportunity to reflect on the multigenerational foundation of strong women whose legacy I now stand on. My great-grandmother was the matriarch of the family for over 90 years. My grandmother hand washed diapers in hand pumped water when it was -30 degrees outside (still had no running water in the 1950s). My other grandmother received a GED when she was in her 60s because she never had a chance to finish high school. Witnessing my mother put herself through college and graduate school to better support her family. My stepmother retired from a professional career now volunteers to be an advocate for abused children. My daughter who has the self-confidence and courage to carry the next generation of women in our family forward. They have taught me to value perseverance, grit and grace. They have taught me that true success is personal – something only you will recognize when you have achieved it.
What technology/literature/art/seminars/ideas do you love, and recommend to others?
I am signed up for list serves by David Pink, the Harvard Business Review and DailyOM. I am frequently inspired by TED Talks Daily and Oprah’s Super Souls podcast. Some of my favorite authors are Brene Brown, Krista Tippett, Tama Kieves, Sarah Young, the Dalai Lama, and Richard Rohr. I am a firm believer of receiving a daily dose of spiritual study and poetry – I highly recommend strong female poets Maya Angelou and Nikita Gill.
How do you reboot?
Yoga helps me find my center, balance. Long walks in the warm or cold air fill my lungs and my soul. We have remodeled an old house in Chinook and had the opportunity to build our dream kitchen. Aside from my yoga mat, my favorite place in our home is in the kitchen – cooking, singing, laughing and dancing with my family and friends.
What is your biggest accomplishment, so far?
On this adventure of life, I am most proud of the two amazing people we are raising, my marriage and meeting President Obama. Success in my scientific career presented me with an opportunity to meet the President, he left all of us that year (2011 PECASE winners) with the following challenge, paraphrasing here “In the face of rising healthcare costs, climate change, an aging and declining workforce and national security threats – your innovation and scientific discovery are our inspiration and will fuel the nation and humanity with opportunity in the face of adversity for years to come.” Aside from hearing the borning cry of my first child, I have never felt so inspired while simultaneously feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’ve been striving to step up to the challenge(s) ever since.
What is the biggest career risk you’ve ever taken?
Taking a sabbatical from my technical career to do a policy detail at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where I oversaw the National Science and Technology Council on behalf of president and his science advisor offered both risk and reward. Leaving behind a technical career that I had built – stemming from a passion that grabbed me the first time I looked through a microscope at 19 years old at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University – to do policy work was a leap of faith. Winding through the security gates that are more complex than boarding an overseas flight and walking through the ominous doors of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building tend to illicit the enormity of the decisions that are made in that place. The experiences gained there changed me as I knew and feared they would – I can no longer see the world through the box of experience I had trained for and studied all those years prior. However, because in that role I can see all of the challenges we were facing as well as all of the collaboration, creative work and innovation in science and technology across America that were pushing forward to solve them. From that vantage point I realized we live in a big complex soup of opportunity, innovation and enormous challenge and I am inspired by the unlimited potential for each of us to do good in the world every day.
What is the ‘lasting legacy’ you hope to leave?
It is my hope that my life and work encourage young women – growing up in rural Montana – to truly feel that the sky is the limit. Anything is possible if you are willing to work hard and take that first step toward a future you are dreaming of and do not back down or settle for less even if you are told it will never happen. I believe everyone should have the opportunity and be inspired to do good work right where they are. I hope my grandchildren have the opportunity to choose to live in rural Montana if they wish and I hope my life and career inspires them to do so. I want people to reflect on my life and say it was a life well lived and that I helped carry them when they could no longer walk the journey alone.
Words of wisdom you want to share with Montanan women?
Be kind to yourself. A good friend of mine always reminds me to be kind to myself and her words always find a home in my heart. Pick who you surround yourself with wisely – there is never a shortage of naysayers, but you can also find just as many atta girls so surround yourself with those that hold you up. Know what yours is uniquely to do – it is powerful but also sometimes overwhelming to feel a sense of responsibility to your family, your community and to the world especially for compassionate people living in a 24-hour news cycle. Remember you are part of a village, a community of strong women and men. We are all here to work with you, celebrate your wins, compliment and follow your good ideas, and encourage you to be the unique person you are. Strive to surround yourself with communities that empower you to take on the challenges you see around you and encourage you to ask the hard but meaningful questions. The ideas, tools and technology are out there to help us build a future that we are proud to hand over to the next generation.