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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
Policy and Global Affairs
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Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
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 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellows
Summer 2001 Fellow Biosketches

Karen Beard (Summer 2001, DELS/BANR) completed a PhD in forestry and environmental studies at Yale University, where she received her master's degree.  She previously earned a BA in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley.  She conducted her dissertation research in Puerto Rico on the role of an amphibian species on ecosystem functioning.  Karen has written several ecological papers for publication, mostly on conservation and ecology, and has gained a broad knowledge of the policy sciences through coursework.  She is an associate professor at Utah State University, specializing in community ecology, ecosystem ecology, and conservation biology.  She has worked at a non-profit land trust in the state of Washington and has served as a post-doc and a visiting professor at Dartmouth College.  (Updated 10/2011)


Laura Bergman Novotny (Summer 2001, DBASSE/COSE-K-12) is a Senior Research Scientist at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, D.C.  In 2003, Laura completed her PhD in zoology, with a specialization in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology, from the University of Hawaii.  Her doctoral research focused on investigating the utility of the cephalic lateralis system in Apogonid taxonomy and systematics.  Laura had her Mirzayan Fellowship with the Committee on Science Education within the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.  As a Mirzayan Fellow, Laura contributed to the development of a protocol for a systematic review of the literature evaluating the impacts of the National Science Education Standards on the education system and on student learning.  Laura's current work at AIR focuses primarily on the development of large-scale, high-stakes, standardized science assessments.  Prior to joining AIR, Laura taught science courses, including introductory biology, environmental biology, human biology, and physical science, for the University of Maryland-University College. Laura's "free" time is spent going on adventures with her toddler boys, running (sometimes after the aforementioned boys), doing CrossFit (so she can keep up with the boys), and trying out new primal recipes (so that she has the appropriate fuel for all of the previously mentioned activities). (Updated 08/2010) 

Jason Borenstein (Summer 2001, PGA/CSTL) is the Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests include bioethics, engineering ethics, robot ethics, and research ethics. Dr. Borenstein is an assistant editor of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics, co-editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s Ethics and Information Technology section, and an editorial board member of the journal Accountability in Research. (Updated 2/2016)



Christine Braun (Summer 2001, IOM/HCS) has been working towards a master's degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  She completed her undergraduate degrees in biology and French studies at Smith College.  Christine has been a research associate for the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.  She was also director of personnel and executive assistant to the dean at the University of Maryland Mannheim Campus in Mannheim, Germany.  In addition, she has conducted basic science research at Johns Hopkins University and at INSERM in Paris, France.  She has great enthusiasm for (and little talent in) photography, gardening, theatre, and traveling.  Christine had her Mirzayan Fellowship with the Board on Health Care Services at the Institute of Medicine.  


Penelope Espinoza (Summer 2001, DBASSE/DBASSE EO) has been working towards her PhD in social psychology at the University of Michigan.  She received a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in anthropology from Stanford University.  Penelope is most interested in the cognitive flexibility of bicultural individuals, specifically Latin Americans and in the development of implicit techniques to predict discrimination.  She has previously taken scholastic opportunities in part to discuss her research with students in different fields from all over the country, and hear about research very different from her own.  She is looking forward to this type of intellectual exchange during her fellowship. Penelope was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and her hobbies include dancing (including country-western), walking dogs, and writing prose.  Penelope's immediate goals are to refine the topic of her dissertation, complete a manuscript on hierarchical attitudes and hiring practices, and upon returning to her hometown, to teach her dog Biscuit to stop chasing its tail.  Penelope had her Mirzayan Fellowship with the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

Eric Gaidos (Summer 2001, DELS/BLS) has completed his PhD in astrophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with a minor in molecular biology.  He previously received an MS in aeronautical engineering.  He was a postdoctoral associate for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where he did research on the early climatic and geochemical evolution of the Earth, molecular evolution of life, and the implications for the search for life on other planets.  His own work includes the ecosystems found in extreme environments such as the hydrothermal systems on seafloor and in Antarctica.  He was scheduled to join the faculty of the University of Hawaii as an assistant professor of geobiology after his Mirzayan Fellowship, continuing his research on the function and evolution of, and the impact of climate change on, ecosystems and the biosphere on a planetary scale. 


Jeremy Griggs (Summer 2001, DELS/ILAR) is a principal scientist in biopharmaceutical drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline in the UK.  He has previously held positions in the biotechnology industry in both the UK and Switzerland. Jeremy holds a BSc from University College, London and a PhD from Cambridge.  As a Mirzayan Fellow, Jeremy worked with Institute of Laboratory Animal Research within the Division of Earth and Life Studies.   (Updated 3/2010)



Ryan Hall (Summer 2001, DEPS/ASEB) has been progressing towards his master's degree in planning at the University of Southern California.  He received a BA in geography, a BA in drama and a minor in urban planning from the University of Washington.  He is currently working as a remote consultant for the Port of Seattle in the Planning Department at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Ryan performs quantitative analysis on a variety of planning projects that deal with airport efficiency, travel demand, passenger flows, market expansion and aircraft operations.  Ryan's academic research has focused on the economic and social impacts of airline route structures, but he is also interested in air travel accessibility and market forecasting.  Ryan served the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board during his Mirzayan Fellowship. 


Heather Holsinger (Summer 2001, DELS/CGCR) is a Senior Fellow for Domestic Policy at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.  Her work at the Pew Center involves researching, analyzing and tracking information on domestic activities and policies related to climate change and overseeing the Pew Center's adaptation program.  Ms. Holsinger has significant policy analysis experience, including five years of service at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of Congress, evaluating federal voluntary climate programs and the implementation of a variety of natural resource regulations.  In addition, she served as a Mirzayan Fellow with the National Academy of Sciences' Global Change Research Committee and evaluated electronics recycling efforts while at Resources for the Future.  Ms. Holsinger has also advised a variety of Fortune 500 companies and public sector organizations on environmental management issues while at the consulting firm of Putnam, Hayes, & Bartlett, Inc.  She holds two master’s degrees from Duke University with a focus on resource economics and policy and a BA from the University of Virginia with majors in economics and environmental science.  (Updated 10/2011)

Amanda Hunt (Summer 2001, IOM/NBH) completed her PhD in neuroscience in 2001 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a native Texan and she earned a BS in biology with a minor in chemistry at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Tex.  Amanda's PhD research focused on the SCN – the site of the biological clock in the mammalian brain, and the effects of the hormone melatonin.  While at the National Academies, she worked with the Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health within the Institute of Medicine.  Amanda then worked for the Research Competitiveness Service at the American Association for the Advancement of Science until 2007.  There she conducted peer review of proposals and programs at research institutions across the United States.  Amanda then moved to the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services (AIBS SPARS) in Reston, Va.  She managed proposal review for the $50 million Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program of the U.S. Army. She is currently at the Department of Veterans Affairs, working as a portfolio manager in the Office of Research and Development.  (Updated 2/2012)

Jennifer J. Jackiw (Summer 2001, CISAC and PGA/BISO; DELS/BCST) has served in many roles, most recently as Science & Innovation Officer at the British Consulate-General Chicago.  She has also performed science and technology outreach with University of Illinois Extension and been a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.  Jennifer earned a position at the NAS first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a Staff Officer with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology after her Mirzayan Fellowship.  She recieved her Ph.D. in chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University and earned a B.S. in chemistry and economics at the University of Richmond.  She enjoys traveling and has spent a year in Berlin, Germany, where she completed portions of her thesis research on nanoscale structures and properties at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society.   As a Mirzayan Fellow, Jennifer worked with BCST and the with the Committee on International Security and Arms Control within the Policy and Global Affairs Division. (Updated 9/2010)

Dina Kampmeyer (Summer 2001, DEPS/SSB and BB) received her master's degree from American University in international affairs, specializing in science and space policy. She also has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine. After pursuing a career in public policy, including stints at NASA and the U.S. Department of State, Dina moved home to California in 2003 to pursue her dream of working in Hollywood. She is currently employed as a senior analyst at Warner Brothers. (Updated 2/2016)



Melissa Marino (Summer 2001, NAS/ONPI) is an editor/science writer in the news and communications office at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  She serves as the editor of Momentum, the biannual magazine of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, manages news content for the Cancer Center's Web site, and writes cancer-related news for other Vanderbilt University publications.  Marino earned both a bachelor of science degree in medical technology in 1996 and a PhD in biomedical science in 2003 from the University of South Carolina.  During her Mirzayan Fellowship at the National Academies, Marino worked in the Office of News & Public Information, where she wrote and edited news items for the NAS news web page and contributed to the weekly news tip sheet for the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).  After her Fellowship, she served as a freelance science writer for PNAS, writing items for the media tip sheet, contributing article highlights for the "In This Issue" section of the journal, and composing biographies of new Academy members.  Link to Melissa's on-line article "A Misfit Scientist Goes to Washington" in Science's Next Wave (November 2, 2001) describing her Mirzayan Fellowship experience.  (Updated 8/2010)

Zane Olina (Summer 2001, NAE/NAEPO) is a PhD candidate in learning and instructional technology at Arizona State University, where she received her MEd in the same subject.  She has previously worked as a trainer for the New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development in Phoenix, where she learned about the latest brain research and early childhood development.  Zane came from Latvia to the United States as a Fulbright scholar.  In Latvia, Zane co-founded and directed a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of Latvian educational system.  She directed school improvement projects, delivered in-service training courses for teachers and developed curriculum materials for schools.  Upon her graduation, Zane intends to return to Latvia and get involved in education policy work there.  Zane had her Mirzayan Fellowship at the National Academy of Engineering.


John Rhoads (Summer 2001, PGA/DSC) leads Accenture's Built Environment Energy Management business in Europe, Africa and Latin America.  Prior to joining Accenture Mr. Rhoads worked as an independent strategy consultant within the industrial and power equipment industries.  He has also worked as a project director for a market research provider and as a project manager developing geological surveying technologies.  Mr. Rhoads holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an MS in applied optical physics from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in electrical engineering from Tulane University.   (Updated 10/2011)



Kimberly Shella (Summer 2001, NAE/CEE) is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of California Irvine.  She received a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree in Astronomy from Wesleyan University.  She also earned a bachelors degree in Physics and Government from Oberlin College.  She has worked for the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics where she worked on a study of physics bachelor recipients.  She examined the relevance of an undergraduate physics education for those employed as engineers and engineering related professions.  During her Mirzayan Fellowship, Kimberly worked with the National Academy of Engineering's Center for Engineering Education.  She developed a pilot survey and database of university programs seeking to increase participation in science for all students and underrepresented groups.   (Updated 9/2010)

Ito Toshima Corrado (Summer 2001, CPOP and DBASSE/CSES) is a master's candidate in demography at Georgetown University.  She earned her BA in international relations with a minor in Asian studies at Claremont-McKenna College.  She has been pursuing her interests in reproductive health and maternal and child health issues particularly of China ever since she attended the Beijing Women's Conference in 1995 and hopes to actively participate in the shaping of future reproductive health policies in Asia.  Ito had her Mirzayan Fellowship with the Committee on Population within the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. (Updated 02/2011)



David Walczyk (Summer 2001, DEPS/CSTB) is a Jungian psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and the founder of The Center for Design and Consciousness. He is a long-time independent design consultant and has taught design at New York University since 2003. Throughout his professional career, he has served in a variety of capacities including visiting scholar at the Library of Congress, a brand design strategist, a designer at both General Electric (GE) Global Research and GE Energy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and a full-time professor at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design where he founded the user experience (UX) program and introduced the first dual digital arts/information science graduate program in the world. As a Mirzayan Fellow, he helped to create and cultivate the field of information technology and creative practices (ITCP) which represents the convergence of computer science with digital arts. (Updated 2/2016)

Elmer Yglesias (Summer 2001, PGA/COSEPUP) is on a detail appointment at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he is helping the Economic Development Administration implement new initiatives designed to advance innovation and entrepeneurship. He is currently on leave from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, a federal center that assists the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and other Federal sponsors to formulate federal S&T policy and evaluation.   (Updated 08/2010)