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Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
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The National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
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Phone: 202-334-2455

 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellows
Winter 2009 Fellow Biosketches

Joel Baumgart (Winter 2009, NAE/CEE) is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University Weill Medical College where he investigates the roles of sodium channels in exocytosis.  Joel received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Virginia in 2008 and holds a BS in biochemistry and BA in psychology from the University of Missouri.  His doctoral research focused on the biophysical properties of voltage-gated calcium channels and was supported by an Epilespy Foundation predoctoral fellowship and a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid of Research.  Joel is seeking to expand his perspective by observing and participating in the process of science policy and analysis.  In his free time, Joel enjoys reading, cooking, and playing soccer.  Contact via email  (Updated 10/2011)


Stephanie Bogle (Winter 2009, DEPS/NMMB) is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany.  She completed her PhD in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009.  Her doctoral research involved determining the nanoscale structure of various amorphous materials via statistical analysis of nanodiffraction images (a technique known as Fluctuation Electron Microscopy).  Stephanie's undergraduate studies were completed at North Carolina State University.  She received degrees in both materials science and engineering, and science, technology, and society with a concentration in sustainable development in Latin America.  In the long-term, she plans to stay in academia.  Stephanie loves to travel and learn new languages.  While in graduate school, she has served as project manager on two Engineers Without Borders projects, one in India and one in Guatemala.  In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys training Capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) and dancing.  Contact via email.  (Updated 2/2011)

Lauren Brown (Winter 2009, DELS/PRB)  is currently a research associate with the Polar Research Board (PRB) and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) at the National Academies.  She completed her MS in marine studies with a concentration in physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware.  Her research involved the analysis of tidal currents, velocity structure, and ocean physics off the coast of northwestern Greenland to determine their influence on the larger regional dynamics.  Her research is part of a multi-year study to investigate the impact of freshwater flux through the Canadian archipelago on Arctic circulation.  She holds a BA from the University of Delaware in physics and astronomy.  During her Mirzayan Fellowship at the National Academies, she became especially interested in high-latitude environmental policy issues and the role of polar regions in global climate change.  Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Susan (Casper) Anenberg (Winter 2009, DELS/BASC) is an Environmental Protection Specialist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she works on strategies to mitigate air pollution and climate change simultaneously.  She completed her PhD in environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina, with a subfocus in environmental policy.  She also received an MS in environmental science and engineering from UNC and a BA in biology and environmental science from Northwestern University.  Before returning to graduate school, Susan worked for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which sparked her interest in science and policy integration.  Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)


Michelle Crosby-Nagy (Winter 2009, PGA/GUIRR) is pursuing a master’s degree in international science and technology policy with concentration in applied economics at the George Washington University.  She holds a BA in international studies with emphasis in international economic relations in Europe from American University.  She is co-founder and former executive director of two non-profit organizations dealing with issues such as the value of skilled foreign nationals in the United States, industrial organization and science for statecraft.  During her Mirzayan Fellowship, she assisted GUIRR with projects relating to international research collaborations, the science and engineering workforce and industry-university partnerships.  She hopes to pursue a PhD in economic sociology.  In addition to her academic and professional pursuits, Michelle is an accomplished professional violinist with past solo performances at several area venues.  Contact via email.  (Updated 3/2010)

Ryan Davison (Winter 2009, NAE/CASEE) is a senior policy associate at the American Chemical Society (ACS).  With over 163,000 members, the ACS is world's largest scientific organization and at the forefront of advocating for the physical sciences.  Since completing the Academies Fellowship and joining the ACS, Ryan served an a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University, an adjunct professor at George Washington University, a biosecurity research associate at the Federation of American Scientists, and a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at Research!America.  Contact via email.  (Updated 2/2011)



Erin Fitzgerald (Winter 2009, DEPS/AFSB) works with the Basic Science Office in the Department of Defense (following a AAAS Fellowship in the same office) where she manages the Minerva Research Initiative, a university-based basic research program with the goal of improving fundamental understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.  As a Mirzayan Fellow, she worked on defense intelligence studies with the TIGER Committee in DEPS.  Erin has a PhD and MSE in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in ECE from Carnegie Mellon University; her thesis research in speech and language processing involved automatically transforming spontaneously-produced speech transcripts with disfluencies and speaker errors into fluent and content-preserved sentences.  In early 2010, Erin had the opportunity to contribute to the design of the newest Barbie doll -- a computer engineer -- after Mattel contacted the NAE seeking a computer engineer's input, which led to a number of interviews, articles, and a lot of fun!  Contact  via email(Updated 10/2011)

Todd Haim (Winter 2009, PGA/COSEPUP) is with the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI) as a Program Manager in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center. In this position, Todd scouts for, funds, and mentors startup biotechnology companies that are pursuing innovative approaches to cancer therapeutics or diagnostics and would, when commercialized, meet a critical unmet medical need. Todd first joined the office as a 2009-2010 AAAS Science Policy fellow and since then, Todd has led many strategic initiatives and evaluation efforts for the center including the annual Investor Forum to facilitate partnerships between awarded companies and venture capital investors or strategic partners. He graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine with a PhD in biomedical research and earned his BA in biology at Rutgers College. Todd’s graduate research focused on the cellular effects of familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and his work helped elucidate mutation-specific pathogenic mechanisms of disease. Todd completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Pfizer on a project, in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine, which illustrated a mechanism for altered cardiac contractility due to excess fatty acids. This novel finding advanced the understanding of how diabetes results in cardiac disease. Throughout his career, Todd has maintained a strong awareness of the “big picture”, the net effect of scientific research endeavors on society. Todd’s efforts in science policy first began as a member of the Biophysical Society’s public affairs council, through which he learned of the need to make public and governmental support for science as deep as it is wide. Todd’s personal interests are varied and he never shies away from a great discussion.  Contact via email.  (Updated 3/2012)

2009W Hassebroek_PamPam Hassebroek (Winter 2009, DEPS/CSTB) is a research associate at the Internet Policy Project (IP3), Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), where she contributes to teaching, research, and communication of ideas related to organizational environments and management of information networks.  Pam completed her PhD in public policy at Georgia Tech in 2007.  She holds an MS in digital media from Georgia Tech, an MS in petroleum engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in mathematics from Texas Christian University.  Her primary research interests are societal influences on computer-based information technologies (IT) and related public policy issues.  A native Texan, Pam has experience in a number of interdisciplinary IT areas, and includes ten years in engineering research and staff positions with major oil exploration and production companies.  Her leisure interests include playing golf, watching movies, and traveling.  Contact via email.  (Updated 3/2010)

Cheryl Logan (Winter 2009, DELS/OSB) completed her PhD in marine biology at Stanford University in 2010.  She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley where she double-majored in integrative biology and molecular and cell biology.  Her doctoral research examined how marine fish and invertebrates physiologically cope with changes in environmental temperature.  Cheryl's doctoral work was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Cheryl began postdoctoral work at Princeton University in Fall 2010 predicting the effects of temperature and ocean acidification on rates of coral bleaching using GFDL global climate models. Her career goals include finding ways to integrate species-specific physiological coping strategies into modeling the effects of climate change in marine ecosystems. In her free time, Cheryl enjoys snowboarding, hiking, camping, scuba diving, and competing in triathlons. Contact via email.  (Updated 2/2011)

Melissa McCartney (Winter 2009, PGA/CWSEM) is an Associate Editor at Science magazine where she works on several education initiatives, including the Science Education Prizes and the NSF supported “Science in the Classroom.”  Prior to returning to DC for the Mirzayan fellowship, she completed a postdoctoral position in the Department of Neurology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she examined network dynamics in the hippocampus; specifically with regards to seizure generation in epilepsy.  She completed her PhD in neuroscience from The George Washington University in 2006, where her research consisted of a characterization of the GABAA receptor epsilon subunit.  Outside of her research pursuits, Melissa has been involved with science and math programs through both the Philadelphia and DC Public Schools.  She is also the current President of the DC Chapter of the Association of Women in Science (AWIS).  Melissa's goal is to use her scientific background to improve all levels of science education, as well as to increase the promotion of science to the public.  She enjoys swimming and has a weakness for karaoke.  Contact via email(Updated 1/2013)

Michael McElwain (Winter 2009, DEPS/BPA) is a civil servant in the Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory (Code 667) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  Michael earned his PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2007, after completing an undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001.  He spent 3.5 years at Princeton University supported by an endowed Russell fellowship and the NSF AAPF.  Michael played a key role in the development of a facility-class infrared integral field spectrograph that operates behind the adaptive optics system at the W.M. Keck Observatory.  At Princeton, he was a core instrument and science team member of the SEEDS survey at the NAOJ Subaru Telescope.  Michael is actively researching science and technology issues for ground- and space-based observations of extrasolar planets.  During his Mirzayan Fellowship, Michael worked on the Astro2010 decadal survey, and he hopes his Fellowship experience has initiated a long-term career as a conscientious scientist who contributes to the challenging policy decisions facing our country.  In his spare time, Michael enjoys playing soccer, building stuff, eating French food, listening to National Public Radio, and experiencing new cultures.   Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Jessica Meisner (Winter 2009, PGA/CISAC) graduated from Georgetown University with an MS in biohazardous threat agents and emerging infectious diseases.  She holds dual BA degrees from the University of Southern California in biological sciences and international relations, with a concentration in international politics and security studies.  Jessica also completed a Study Abroad program in war studies at King's College, London.  She has worked at a variety of organizations during her studies including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in the Biological Threat Reduction Program and the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  She performed undergraduate research at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in the field of transplantation immunology, specifically looking at xenotransplantation, which is the use of pig organs for transplantation into humans.  Jessica is currently a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine and hopes to eventually go into policy specifically in areas related to global health and biosecurity.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, baking, and watching USC football.  Contact via email.  (Updated 10/2011)

David E. Myles (Winter 2009, DBASSE/BCYF) is currently a resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  He graduated Yale University School of Medicine and  has also earned an MS in psychology at the same institution.  His thesis work investigated the link between the provision of choice and the effectiveness of a social psychological intervention (self-affirmation) previously demonstrated to reduce the inter-ethnic academic achievement gap.  Prior to entering Yale, he graduated Morehouse College with a BS in biology and a minor in Spanish.  While at both institutions he tried to determine how he could most effectively ensure that all children realize their full potential by working with them in various capacities in both educational and medical contexts.  At this point, he is looking forward to applying principles learned in both medicine and social psychology to better inform ongoing efforts to improve the lives of kids in the context of this fellowship.  Moving forward, he plans to continue working for the holistic betterment of children by working part-time as a pediatrician and spending a significant amount of energy shaping the policies that affect all youth.  When he is not actively addressing those issues, he enjoys spending time with the family and friends that have allowed him to make it this far in his ongoing journey.  Contact via email.   (Updated 9/2010)

Leah Nichols (Winter 2009, PGA/STEP) is a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.  She recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.  Her academic research examines the role universities play in the innovation ecosystem.  In particular, she studies non-commercial mechanisms of technology transfer as a means of distributing knowledge and technology to benefit nonprofit, public interest goals.  She also focuses on how non-academic actors (e.g. government and industry) influence the research agendas of academic scientists.  Leah received her BS in environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her PhD in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley.  She was also a 2009 Christine Mirzayan Science Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, where she worked with the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy.  Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Sandy Polu (Winter 2009, IOM/PHPHP) completed a PhD in history at Harvard and is currently chief aide to the U.S. Ambassador to Italy.  Her dissertation analyzed how perceptions of the economic, political, and epidemiological risks posed by malaria, cholera, plague and yellow fever influenced Indian and global public health policies from 1890 to 1940.  It looked at how a variety of factors, including international public health diplomacy, epidemiology, new medical technologies, trade protection, and cultural norms, operated within a larger framework of risk to shape the Government of India’s infectious disease policies.  Prior to starting her doctoral program, Sandy was a Fulbright Scholar in Italy, where she studied early smallpox vaccination campaigns.  Sandy also has a BA in history from Stanford.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking Indian and Italian food and exploring the underwater world through scuba diving.  Contact via email.  (Updated 4/2009)

Ashton Powell (Winter 2009, PGA/CSTL) is currently a biology instructor at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics as well a faculty associate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Genomics and Society.  At NCSSM, Ashton teaches AP biology, anatomy & physiology, neuroscience, and science policy, ethics, & law.  At the UNC-CGS, Ashton is designing educational modules that can be used to bring topics similar to those covered by the CSTL to high-school and college level students.  An example of this a mouse embryonic stem cell lab designed for incorporation into the national AP biology curriculum.  This lab will give high-school students hands on experience with actual mESCs, as well as offer a venue to discuss and legal, ethical, and policy issues surrounding this technology.  Ashton received his PhD in neurobiology at the University of North Carolina in December 2007.  His research was on the molecular mechanisms underlying development of thalamocortical connectivity inside the embryonic brain.  After graduation, he accepted a fellowship at the Duke Center for Genome Ethics, Law, & Policy, where he studied how intellectual property law affects the availability of genetic testing to patients.  Ashton returned to UNC, accepting a position at the UNC-CGS as an ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of genomic research) fellow where he studied the legal framework surrounding biobanks and newborn genetic screening in the U.S.  While a Mirzayan Fellow, Ashton worked with the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law.  During the fellowship he was able to engage in topics such as synthetic biology and animal law, as well as experience the release of the 2009 Forensics report.  He can be reached at this email or at this email. (Updated 3/2010)

Miriam Quintal (Winter 2009, DBASSE/BOSE)  works for a government relations firm, Lewis-Burke Associates, which represents universities and scientific societies such as Caltech, USC, UVA, and UCAR.  She covers science education, space, computational science, and climate change for the firm.  During her fellowship with BOSE she worked on a review of NOAA's science education programs and a workshop on gaming and simulations.  Before coming to Washington, she was a PhD candidate in organic chemistry at Harvard University.  Her doctoral research, supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, was focused on developing a synthesis of daphniglaucin C, a tetracyclic molecule that inhibits tubulin polymerization, a crucial process in cell division, and kills cancer cells.  Prior to graduate school, Miriam spent a year in Israel at the Weizmann Institute of Science studying computational chemistry on a Fulbright Fellowship.  Her undergraduate studies were completed at Smith College, where she earned an AB in chemistry with a self-designed minor in issues of church and state.  She is an avid consumer of political news, and enjoys playing volleyball and juggling.  Contact her via this email or this email. (Updated 10/2011).

Kate Saylor (Winter 2009, DELS/BLS) is a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Institutes of Health.  At NIH, she has done rotations in science policy offices in the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and the Office of the Director.  Her policy interests include biomedical science policy, bioethics and biomedical science literacy.  She was an ARCS Scholar (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) and completed an MS in neuroscience at Oregon Health & Sciences University, where she studied structural proteins in the stereocilia of inner ear receptor cells.  She is interested in sensory systems, perception and cognition.  As an undergraduate, she studied biology, neurobiology, psychology and music at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.  She then studied inner ear development as a postbaccalaureate fellow at the NIH/NIDCD before entering graduate school.  Kate is interested in science writing, bioethics, science literacy, and research advocacy.  She is a violinist and enjoys playing bluegrass, Irish, and classical music; she also likes baking, hiking, swimming, reading, singing and exploring new places.  Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Adam Schickedanz (Winter 2009, IOM/HCS) is a resident in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, a graduate of UCSF medical school (MD, 2010) and Washington University in St. Louis (BA, 2003), and a native of Boston.  At UCSF Adam has developed a clinical focus in urban underserved patient care, while also advancing research interests in medical professionalism and cultural competency in medical education, novel approaches to clinician-patient communication in medical decision making (particularly at the end of life), and the intersections of education and health, the latter carried over from years teaching science to St. Louis city middle-schoolers through after school programs he helped found.  Thoroughly convinced that physicians need a strong understanding of health policy to substantively improve health care, Adam was thrilled to be immersed in policy with the Board on Health Care Services and he looks forward to applying the knowledge and skills he gained to benefit his patients.  He is also an aspiring slam poet, a proud dog homemaker, a jazz enthusiast, and is always looking for people with whom to play ping-pong or throw a lacrosse ball.  Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Erin Sorrell (Winter 2009, DELS/ILAR) is a AAAS Fellow in Diplomacy, Security and Development working in the Cooperative Threat Reduction office of the State Department.  She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a PhD in virology in December 2008, just prior to starting the Mirzayan fellowship in ILAR.  Her graduate research focused on identifying markers of influenza A viruses that lead to interspecies transmission.  In particular Erin studied H2N2 and H9N2 avian influenza viruses and their role in transmission from avian to mammalian animal models.  She also received her MS from Maryland and a BS in animal sciences from Cornell University.  The experiences and networking provided by the fellowship encouraged Erin to continue working in the field of research, starting with a post-doctoral position at the University of Maryland working on the 2009 pandemic H1N1 swine influenza virus. In 2010, she began working on influenza tropism in humans, focusing on H7N7 viruses at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  She ultimately hopes to use her US and EU experiences working in the field of infectious disease to a career in public health and policy.  In her spare time Erin enjoys travel, sports, biking, being outside and encouraging bench scientists to have a little fun outside the labContact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Matthew Stepp (Winter 2009, TRB/TRB Studies)  is currently a clean energy policy analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).  His focus is on building a green economy innovation economics and promoting technology policies aimed at fairly and sustainably reducing global carbon emissions.  He holds a MS in science/technology public policy from the Rochester Institute of Technology and BS in meteorology from Millersville University.  His NSF-funded graduate research created a systems dynamics model of the light duty vehicle population to analyze the synergistic effects of portfolios of greenhouse gas reduction policies.  Matthew chose to ground himself in both science and public policy in an effort to bridge the gap between hard research and policy making as well as to present a unique perspective on important issues, such as climate change and energy policy.  He viewed the Mirzayan Fellowship as a capstone experience, where he gained first-hand insight into federal science policymaking, the science policy community, and how important national decisions are made.  When not working, Matthew enjoys staying politically active, reading, forecasting, traveling on road trips, camping, and baseball.  Reach via email(Updated 10/2011)

Clare Stroud (Winter 2009, IOM/HSP) is a program officer with the Board on Health Sciences Policy at the Institute of Medicine (IOM). She is the study director for the Committee on Prepositioned Medical Countermeasures for the Public, and she also works with the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events and the Committee on Guidance for Establishing Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations.  Dr. Stroud first joined the IOM as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow.  She received her PhD from the University of Maryland, with research focused on the cognitive neuroscience of language and face perception. During her doctoral program, she spent a year as an intern in the Congressional office of Rahm Emanuel.  Dr. Stroud is also a member of the Associate Network at AmericaSpeaks, a non-profit organization that designs and runs large town hall meetings for citizens to participate in decision-making on important public policy issues.  She received her bachelor's degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, and also spent a year at the University of Salamanca in Spain. Contact via email(Updated 10/2011)

Stephanie Wolahan (Winter 2009, DEPS/BEES) is completing her PhD in physical chemistry at UCLA.  Her graduate research focuses on enhancing contrast and sensitivity in magnetic resonance imaging.  Specifically, detecting early indicators of cancer by taking advantage of nonlinear magnetic fields and by developing multicolor MRI contrast agents.  Upon completing her doctorate, she plans to work in research and development in the private sector.  Stephanie gained invaluable knowledge and perspective from the Mirzayan Fellowship and working at BEES.  She enjoys watching all types of movies, eating all types of food, and traveling in her free time.  Contact via email.  (Updated 3/2010)


Anna Woloszynska-Read (Winter 2009, IOM/NCPF) was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow with the NCPF from January to April 2009.  During her Fellowship, Dr. Woloszynska-Read contributed to the study Qualification of Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints in Chronic Disease and the study Cancer Clinical Trials and the NCI Cooperative Groups.  She completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009.  She holds an M.S. in  Human Biology from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland.  Her dissertation work involved translational research relating to the epigenetics of ovarian cancer, with the hopes of developing early diagnostic tools and novel treatments for the disease.  During her time as a graduate student, she worked with the Scientific Review Committee and the Institutional Review Board at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, focusing on translational research and cancer health disparities.  Contact via email.  (Updated 8/2010) 

Lucie Yang (Winter 2009, PGA/BRDI) completed her MD-PhD at University of California, San Francisco in 2004.  Her graduate research focused on determining the molecules and mechanisms regulating neuronal migration and cell fate determination in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans.  Following further clinical training in surgery and radiology, she performed neuroimaging research on how caffeine-induced differences in physiology affect imaging measures of neural activity as a postdoctoral fellow at Wake Forest University Medical Center in North Carolina.  Ever since she was an intern with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) after college, Lucie has yearned to come full circle back to policy.  Her long-term goal is to effectively combine her newly-gained policy knowledge with her passion for science to improve human health worldwide.  Pursuit of this goal may take her into the public sector, private (including non-profit) sector, or a combination of these.  She is currently a clinical team leader at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  In her free time, Lucie enjoys traveling, hiking, discussing politics, tasting innovatively prepared foods, baking, and attending theater/music performances/film festivals.  If you wish to get in touch with Lucie, please contact the Mirzayan Fellowship Program office. (Updated 2/2011)