Daniel B. Oerther, PhD, PE, BCEE, honorary member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow. The fellowship is designed to articulate science and technology issues for policymakers with the goal of promoting security, prosperity, and democratic ideals around the globe.
The application process was intense and highly competitive, Oerther said. After nearly a month of phone interviews and in-person interviews in Washington, D.C, he received word on 7 March that he had been selected as a senior science adviser to the Secretary of State for the 2014-15 academic year.
In his nomination for this prestigious position, Oerther, the John A. and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Health Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, highlighted his interdisciplinary collaborations. “As a licensed professional engineer, I’ve been thrilled to work with architects, nurses, physicians, and teachers on projects in the USA and around the globe. I always cite as my highest career achievement my election as a lifetime honorary member of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing.”
In preparing a letter of recommendation, Suzanne Prevost, PhD, RN, COI, past president of STTI, said: “With an underpinning of evidence-based practice, nursing in the 21st century is a beautiful blend of technology and relationship. In reviewing materials for the Jefferson Science Fellowship, it strikes me that the traits of a nurse fit well with the expectations of the fellows. As an honorary nurse, Dr. Oerther has demonstrated mastery of these traits.”
As part of his assignment, Oerther will spend one year embedded within a bureau of the Department of State as a science adviser. He will have the opportunity to travel to U.S. embassies and missions overseas and will continue to serve as a resource to the State Department for an additional five years.
“Given the range of environmental challenges facing the U.S. and the globe—including maternal and infant health, nutrition, and wellness, as well as sanitation, clean drinking water, and clean air—it is clear to me that a holistic approach advocated and espoused by nurses is central to both accurate science as well as compassionate and effective statecraft,” Oerther said.
“My reviewers for the Jefferson Science Fellowship were anxious for me to discuss my experience with the successful ECOSOC status for Sigma and what views I held in terms of the next generation Sustainable Development Goals,” Oerther added. He continues to serve the honor society as a director of the STTI Building Corporation.
“I am excited to serve our country and, given the events of recent history—from the Ukraine to the Keystone Pipeline to the path forward to the U.N. Millennium Sustainability Goals—my period of service is sure to be challenging and rewarding,” Oerther said. RNL