So I don't know how many of you have even heard of the US National Academies. Yeah, me neither until I came to Washington DC. BUT! through my research of trying to find a job in DC, I realized how awesome the academies are! Here's an overview:
There are 4 Academies: National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
They are honorary service organizations. Basically, you need to be nominated to get into the "club." Isn't that cool?!
A main point of the Academies is to educate the public. It's great that there's an organization with 300 Nobel Laureates (that's right! 300!) to come together and get other people excited about science.
They help to consult the US Government on matters involving science (with means pretty much anything). So those people within the academy have a duty to show their view on the scientific matters.
The Academies publish about 200 reports every year. These reports help to influence public policy. Think, you could write a report on, say, obesity, and the it's possible that this would get the attention of the media and Congress. If interested in the up-and-coming trends of engineering, this may be a good resource.
For more information, visit the National Academies. Check it out, there may be something that peaks yoru interest. I'm also thinking of a field trip in the near future. :-)