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Christine Mirzayan Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
The National Academies
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Summer 2004: Quotes from Fellows about what they did

*Reminder the program’s name changed from internship program to policy fellowship program in September 2004

“I assisted in the organization and implementation of a new NRC study. This included many contacts, by phone and email, with committee members. I compiled information from the committee on topics to be discussed and created general themes and the organization strategy at the first committee meeting and presented these to the committee chair and RPO. I also gathered copyright permissions for figures to be used in another NRC study that was nearing publication. In my spare time I assisted two other Board members with research on their projects.”

“I did work in support of upcoming workshops and committees. I did background research on various workshop topics, on potential program committee members, workshop speakers, and attendees. I was fortunate to be able to sit in on a 2-day committee meeting and learn how “consensus” is reached among many established researchers. I attended congressional hearings and roundtables, and seminars arranged by nonprofit organizations in the area. I had a tour of the West Wing by someone who works there.”

“I worked on two projects. The first dealt with International Labor Standards. I conducted research on individual country’s labor standards and attended committee meetings regarding what should be monitored. The second project was a study on the extent of outsourcing in US imports and exports. I helped put the committee together and plan the initial committee meetings.”

“The majority of my summer was spent writing the press “tips” for the articles published in PNAS, and also one-sentence summaries of articles to be listed in the “also of interest” section of the weekly media bulletin. Additionally, I had three small research projects on topics for PNAS.”

“The focus of my internship was to learn more about pertinent issues affecting the Materials Science and Engineering community. I was assigned to 2 major projects in which the decisions of the studies can have a profound impact on the direction of Materials Research and Development. The first project I worked on was the “Globalization of Materials Research and Development” where I aided in the research and analysis of data gathered on issues stemming from that area of science and engineering. The second project was the assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. I conducted initial research and analysis of pertinent documents, and as well coordinating the search for appropriate committee members that we would like to be on the study.”

“My main tasks were to (1) search out and compiled a list of gender equity reports for Research 1 universities, (2) compile a matrix of information about the collected data and methodology, and (3) summarize my findings in 3-4 pages.”

“Principal areas of responsibilities included working on the organization of an academic committee slate for a major funded Academy report. Tasks included the researching of policy issues; the searching for and selection of position papers, articles and news clipping; and producing an anthology of said materials. I was instrumental in the coordination of the inaugural committee meeting. Additionally, I was charged with researching and preparing a competitive grant proposal on a promising project as well as preparing several reports for a further project committee. Furthermore, I attended seminars, conferences and symposia, as a representative of my unit and the National Academies.”

“I studied the social worker’s roles in cancer survivorship, community-based services for cancer survivors, and caregiver issues and wrote a report about these issues. The timing of my internship was very good as I was able to spend my first few days in settling down and then attended a national conference on cancer survivorship, which made me more enthusiastic and focused about the cancer survivorship issues. I took relevant online courses and read books and articles. “

“I worked on two workshops for the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT). The first was a workshop on data linkages for food consumption in the U.S. I worked with the Project Director on background research and writing parts of the preliminary Workshop Report. The second was a workshop on measurement of food insecurity and hunger in the U.S. I was involved in some of the planning details of this workshop, including writing letters of invitation to potential attendees and extending the invitations. I also worked with one of the presenters who wrote a paper for the workshop. I did background research for the paper on different surveys’ use of the ERS measurement of food insecurity and hunger, Federal reports that involve food insecurity and hunger measurement, and media use of the figures reported by ERS annually. I also prepared a table of surveys which use the ERS measurement for workshop attendees and panel members.

"I helped to organize a workshop by contacting speakers, confirming their attendance, preparing the workshop program, etc. Following the workshop, I wrote two chapters of the workshop summary, as well as the executive summary. In addition, I researched, drafted, and presented potential future workshop topics to the steering committee.”

“I worked with two national scientific organizing committees, one in mathematics and one in theoretical and applied mechanics. For the national committee in mathematics, I worked on finding opportunities for US math societies to be more active in the developing world. For the national committee on theoretical and applied mechanics, I prepared proposals for future inter-disciplinary workshops.”

“I worked on a joint committee with STL and STEP on a report entitled Intellectual Property in Genomic and Proteomic Research and Innovation. The purpose of the project, was to address whether or not current patenting trends and practices are stifling research and innovation. I spent a lot of time developing, gathering and synthesizing data relevant to the different fields within genomic and proteomic research. This included, patent searches using databases, briefing litigation in proteomics and analyzing the PTO’s standards.”

“I helped organize an advance dissemination plan for a new report by the Committee on Population. I researched interested organizations and institutes who would be keen on receiving the report and wrote a policy brief for it.”

“I was tasked with preparing a 25 page background paper on quality of care issues in developing countries. The background paper was used as briefing materials for an IOM planning meeting for a possible Board on Global Health study. I also prepared research materials as needed for the recently completed BGH Antiretroviral scale-up study.”

“I planned 5 public programs for the Koshland Science Museum (KSM). Several ideas for public programs were generated before I got here, and others I developed from scratch. I first wrote a proposal for the programs and had it approved. Since then, I have been working on all the aspects of planning and implementing these programs. I have contributed to other activities with the museum, such as discussions about the topic for the next exhibition and an NSF funding proposal that KSM is working on with three other science museums.”

“Working for COSEPUP, I compiled the results of a survey sent out to former committee members and reviewers from the report Making the Nation Safer, organized a panel discussion for the upcoming COSEPUP meeting, and did background research on a variety of topics that COSEPUP is working on.”

"My primary activities were pretty varied over the course of the summer. My first major task was to analyze the over 200 responses to our committee’s Call for Comments, and provide the committee with a breakdown of perceived problems and potential solutions to the presidential appointment and federal advisory committee system. I also worked on revising the list of the most critical science and technology-related appointments, and tried to determine which committees governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act were science and technology related. In my spare time, I attempted to do an international comparison of executive branch science advisors.”

“My primary duties: 1. Organized CISAC symposium: Post-Cold War U.S. Nuclear Strategy: A Search for Technical and Policy Common Ground. 2. Researched and wrote sections for a forthcoming CISAC study: Monitoring Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Explosive Materials. Organized panel discussion with other interns: Privatizing Space: How Far is Too Far”