Devin Bryant (‘04)
Profession: Research Assistant for the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee
Johnston Emphasis: Astro-Politics
“I came to the U of R undecided about what to focus on, Government or Astronomy. Johnston's contracting process helped me to discover the emerging field of space policy, where I could combine – no, integrate — the two. Johnston helped me develop certain negotiating skills to navigate this integration.
"Interdisciplinary work probably has to be one of the most prevalent Johnstonian talents I utilize in my everyday work activities. It may sound melodramatic, but where I work you have to keep your mind focused on two worlds: political awareness needed to navigate legislation through Congress, and the engineering and science based world of NASA. Spaceflight involves incredibly laborious and lengthy processes, and with 16 billion or so dollars going to NASA every year you have to keep on your toes both politically and scientifically. The negotiating process of getting information from NASA and drafting legislation is truly fascinating. I need to know the issues better than anybody in Congress, and also know how to play the political game. I feel that Johnston helped me prepare for that dichotomy.
"I hope to see current students also blending their intellectual passions with real world applicability. I got lucky in that my interests found a place to thrive in Washington, though it still required a certain amount of stubbornness and chutzpah to carve out the niche I really wanted. Johnston taught me those qualities as well.”