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“Caramba, these people are good!”

Initially, I worked in EPA’s Office of Water on issues related to coral reef eutrophication. Later, I was placed in the National Center for Environmental Assessment and worked on problems associated with harmful algal blooms.

As I was about to leave graduate school...

As a Risk Policy Fellow, I worked on a variety of issues (mercury in seafood, dietary supplements, U.S.-Mexico border health), but my major project was a risk assessment of Listeria monocytogenes (a common foodborne microbe that causes an uncommon but often fatal disease). Risk assessment is still very new in food safety and this study was just getting started when I began my fellowship, so I was able to get in at the ground floor and participate in adapting theoretical techniques to real-world circumstances.

You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket...

The sabbatical opportunities provided by the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Programs are outstanding. A year working in Washington, DC, at the interface of science and policy, offers many new experiences that translate successfully to an academic setting. The essay in this issue of Fellowship Focus provides one academic’s perspectives on the value of a fellowship as a sabbatical year.


The perspectives and opinions expressed in any article do not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.