Students for Sensible Drug Policy is thrilled to welcome Emory Basso as the newest member of our staff! Em joined the staff in June and is working in the Washington, DC office as SSDP’s first Operations and Administration Associate, a brand new position on the growing development team. They hope to use their systems engineering background to ensure that the daily operations of SSDP are efficient during this period of growth for the organization. Emory first got involved with drug policy reform when they joined the Virginia Tech chapter of SSDP during their freshman year of college in 2012. Em then served as president of the chapter from 2013-2015, growing the group from 5 members to 25 active members. Some of their chapter’s accomplishments during this time include having a strong presence at SSDP2014 and two Mid-Atlantic regional conferences, and collecting hundreds of signatures for the Amend the Rave Act campaign. Em is also very active in the LGBTQ+ community and serves as a mentor to transgender and gender non-binary youth. Emory has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) from Virginia Tech and specializes in planning, logistics, and optimization. During their college career, Em tutored theoretical statistics and probabilistic operations research, and served as the event planning committee head for the ISE Ambassadors. Upon graduation, they were accepted into a PhD program at UC Berkeley with the prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowship for Graduate Study. By getting their PhD, Em hoped to apply operations research to drug policy reform by quantifying the horrendous problems with current drug policy and modeling more effective ways to regulate drugs. However, after attending the program for a semester, Em realized that the culture and academics of the department did not align with their goals and left to work on policy change firsthand. Before joining the SSDP staff, Em developed and documented efficient processes for the collection, retention, cleaning, and analysis of data for the Indiana Youth Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to serving youth workers in Indiana. Even though their schooling was heavily math-based, Em has a strong passion for the arts. They have undergone training in theatre, ballet, singing, and movement and still practices them regularly. Em is obsessed with cats and loves to hike and live in the mountains. Please join us in welcoming Em to team!