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Christine Mirzayan Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
The National Academies
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Phone: 202-334-2455
Email: policyfellows@nas.edu


What They Say, Summer 2006 Fellows

“Make the most of the opportunity to work at the National Academies. You will have the opportunity to meet experts in your field, attend Congressional hearings on related topics, and learn from your peers. In my case, I was introduced to a brand new topic area and I am excited to continue learning about it after I leave the Fellowship program. The Fellowship experience is what you make of it. Some people attended a lot of Congressional hearings, seminars, etc. You can have a very unique experience which is determined by the amount of effort you want to put into it.”

“Don’t be intimidated by PhDs – the other fellows in the program are extremely cool and are definitely not your run-of-the-mill book-types. I’d also suggest getting to know the other fellows. They’ll be the policy players in DC when I come back after school.”

“This program is absolutely amazing! In a very short period of time you get a glimpse of the DC policymaking world and it’s fascinating! There is so much going on at the Academies and in DC. If you think you are interested in science policy, you should definitely apply for this program because in 10 weeks you can get enough exposure with policy to see if it is for you and to give you a realistic view of what policymaking consists of, at the level of the Academies, Congress and federal agencies. It’s definitely an eye-opening process.”

“Whether you decide to work in the policy arena or not, your time at the National Academies and Washington, DC will make you a stronger scientist. Discoveries occur at the bench, but they need to be communicated and appreciated by policymakers in order to make the greatest impact on society.”

“Social scientists should not be discouraged from applying! I believed this opportunity was a very long shot given the biographies of former fellows, but not only was I accepted, I felt like I contributed a valuable perspective to the program and to my unit.”

“A fantastic opportunity to dive into the world of policy and politics, from the perspective of those more used to a lab.”

“This program will allow you to interact with the science policy world in DC. This program gives you not only the opportunity to interact with the science policy world in DC, but your affiliation with the Academies will also give you a certain level of credibility within that world. Take advantage of these opportunities. Try to attend a lot of hearings and seminars. Be aware not only of what is happening on your own committee, but within other offices at the Academies, so that you are able to get a better understanding of the work of the Academies.”

“A fantastic opportunity to experience a unique institution. Don’t overlook the chance to get to know your fellow fellows, they are a great resource and can make your fellowship experience really enjoyable. Start thinking of a seminar topic now! While preparing your application, while traveling to DC, you simply can’t start too soon!”

“People throw around this amorphous term ‘health policy’ in medical school lectures, association meetings, and other venues. However, after completing this fellowship, I now believe that you cannot understand what health policy is until you actually work in Washington, DC, and ‘do health policy.’ As a medical student, you cannot acquire the skills to become a doctor until you see, touch, feel, and practice becoming a physician. Similarly, you cannot understand the vastness and inter-complexities of health policy until you see, touch, feel, and practice it. As with medicine, you must develop your own approach and understanding of health policy and then apply that definition to your own future path.”

“This is such a great way to learn first hand about the science/policy interface and your role in the whole process. Even if you are not certain about a policy career, the information you learn as a policy fellow at the Academies is priceless!”

“You will never, ever run out of things to do. There is always something interesting going on – hearings, seminars, symposia, etc., and it’s often hard to choose from all the various options.”

“Definitely apply for this program. You learn a lot and it is invaluable experience, even if you don’t plan on a policy career.”

“So you’re thinking of a career in policy? Spending 10 weeks with the National Academies is probably one of the best things you can do! In a short fellowship you can learn about the S&T policy world and where you might fit into it. Choose a board you really would want to work with and make connections that will serve you well in the years ahead.”