December 4, 2016

What's Next for Me?

Presenting research at the European Sleep Research Society's
meeting in Bologna, Italy this past September. Great
experience — and my first time abroad!
Since defending my dissertation in June, I've remained in the same sleep research laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher — expanding upon the findings of my dissertation, attending conferences (in Italy!) to present my work, and collecting data for a new pilot study in the sleep clinic.

As many of you know, I've known for a few years now that I wanted to use my extracurricular writing and communication experience toward a career in science policy. During my time as a student, I sought out advocacy projects that allowed me to interact with lawmakers, such as Capitol Hill Days in D.C. with the Society for Neuroscience and inviting my Congressman to tour our laboratory.

I was thrilled this past summer to see advertisements about the William Penn Fellowship, a brand new program designed for recent grad school graduates interested in public service. Working full-time with the Pennsylvania state government, fellows are paired with state agencies "to complete impactful projects based on their personal interests and skillsets."

After two months of preparing my application and interviewing, I'm excited to announce that I'll be serving as one of ten inaugural William Penn Fellows! Beginning next summer, I'll be working in the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) working on policies related to the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania.

I'm incredibly excited and feel empowered knowing that I can use my science degree to help others and be a voice in government — especially now, where I feel it's needed more than ever. I'm also thrilled for this opportunity to learn and grow in a career that I know so little about, yet have wanted for so long. Without a doubt, 2017 will bring some amazing changes and challenges.

I want to sincerely thank you, the readers of this blog, for keeping me "in business" and engaged with my science writing. Your unending support is the reason I've stuck with it all these years, giving me the experience I needed to hone my skills outside of academia.

You can learn more about the William Penn Fellowship here.

(And don't fear. The brain blogging will continue!)