IMPORTANT: Due to circumstances around COVID-19, the 2021 fellowship has been postponed to begin on August 30 and conclude on November 19, 2021. The application window has been extended until April 30, 2021.
We are pleased to announce the fellows for the 2020 Mirzayan fellowship class. Meet the new class.
The Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program is a full-time hands-on training and educational program that provides early career individuals with the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC learning about science and technology policy and the role that scientists and engineers play in advising the nation. This Mirzayan Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to obtain the essential skills and knowledge needed to work in science policy at the federal, state, or local levels.
For more details,
Gail Cohen, Director
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The Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program, now in its 22nd year, is a full-time hands-on training and educational program that provides early career individuals with the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC learning about science and technology policy and the role that scientists and engineers play in advising the nation.
Each year, applicants from around the world become part of an Academies' unit where they are assigned to a mentor and learn about the world of science and technology policy. An immersive experience, the program is designed to broaden fellows' appreciation of employment opportunities outside academia and leave them with both a firm grasp of the important and dynamic role of science and technology in decision-making and a better understanding of the role that they can play in strengthening the science and technology enterprise for the betterment of mankind.
Alumni of the program hold positions in Congressional committees such as the House Science and Technology Committee and at federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of State, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, United States Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy. They also work in foreign governments, in international institutions such as the European Union and World Bank, in universities, and in the private sector.
The fellowship program, which operates under the auspices of the Policy and Global Affairs Division, a program unit within the Academies, is designed to engage early career professionals in the analytical processes that inform U.S. science and technology policy. Fellows obtain the essential skills and knowledge needed to work in science policy at the federal, state, or local levels.
During the program, fellows engage in studies and activities throughout the Academies. Examples of former fellows' projects include:
Each fellow is assigned to a senior staff member who acts as his or her mentor. The mentor provides guidance and ensures that the fellow's time is focused on substantive projects and activities within the fellow's assigned unit.
During the first week of the fellowship program, fellows spend their mornings in Orientation learning about how the Academies operate and gaining an understanding of the fundamentals of science and technology policy. After the first week at Mirzayan, fellows receive briefings from representatives of other organizations in Washington, DC that influence, make, or report on science and technology policy.
Throughout the fellowship program, fellows are assigned to small groups that research specific science and technology policy topics. Each group presents their findings to the full fellowship class. Through this exercise, fellows gain a better understanding of committee dynamics in an environment that is similar to that of the Academies' committees. In the process, fellows gain insights into the challenges inherent in arranging presentations of the type that would be made before a congressional or Academies' committee.
During the first week of the fellowship program, fellows spend their mornings in getting accustomed to the Academies at our Program Orientation were they learn how the Academies operate and gain an understanding of the fundamentals of science and technology policy. After the first week at Mirzayan, fellows receive briefings from representatives of other organizations in Washington, DC that influence, make, or report on science and technology policy.
Christine Mirzayan was a Fellow in the second year of the Policy Fellowship Program and was assigned to the Center for Education. She had recently finished her PhD from the University of California in San Francisco and had been selected as a 1998 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional fellow.
At UCSF, her research focused on the development of the vertebrate nervous system. In particular, she analyzed the molecular mechanism by which diffusible cues guide the migration of developing axons. While at UCSF, she found that although she enjoyed basic research, she was increasingly interested in the role that science plays in society and looked forward to a career that would allow her to utilize her scientific knowledge to address the political and social problems facing our nation.
Tragically, she was unable to reach that goal when she lost her life during the last week of the fellowship program. The National Academy of Sciences has named the program in her honor.
To learn more about Christine Mirzayan, please visit these sites:
CHRISTINE MIRZAYAN MEMORIAL FUND
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
2101 CONSTITUTION AVENUE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20418
Resolution of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences
It is with great sadness that the Council of the National Academy of Sciences acknowledges the tragic, untimely death of Dr. Christine Mirzayan.
The Academy community was fortunate to know Christine, one of our outstanding summer interns. An outstanding young scientist, Christine came to the Academy with plans for bringing the excitement of science to the public at large by improving the way students at the K-12 level are educated. Her work at the Academy set her on a path toward pursuing this goal.
She wanted to make the world a better place. To this end, the Council has established a memorial fund to honor her memory, her initiative, drive and spirit, so that others might have the opportunity to make contributions toward the betterment of society, as Christine so hoped to do. The fund will be dedicated toward activities that link science to public policy, particularly in the area of science education policy.
Adopted by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences at its meeting in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, August 11, 1998.
The National Academy of Sciences has established the Christine Mirzayan Memorial Fund to celebrate Christine's love of life, enthusiasm for science, intelligence and high aspirations for contributing to human welfare.
While Christine was in Washington, she participated in the second year of our summer fellowship program (formerly internship program) for graduate and postdoctoral science and engineering students. She embodied the type of individual the NAS was thinking of when the program was established. An individual interested not just in scientific research as an end to itself--but in its contribution to society as a whole. This was exemplified not only by her desire to be in Washington both in the internship program and her plans to spend the next year as a AAAS Congressional fellow, but also by her volunteer work in San Francisco public schools before coming to Washington.
Because of who she was, the Council of the National Academy of Sciences has decided to name the program in Christine's name and to use the fund to support this program. In this way, her name will be long remembered by generations of science and engineering students as they apply and participate in this program that brings students to Washington from universities throughout the country. Each will be introduced to Christine as a person, particularly her desire to make a difference in society through her science. As stated by one of the interns who served in this year's program with Christine, this is also "a way to both honor her and remember her in a positive, cheerful and busy way --- which is the way I remember Christine."
Anyone who wishes to make a donation via credit card should visit the Academy Giving page or you may send a check, made out to National Academy of Sciences/Christine Mirzayan Fund, to Gail Cohen at the address below. All gifts will be acknowledged to her family and are fully tax deductible.
Gail Cohen, Director
Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
National Academy of Sciences/Christine Mirzayan Fund
500 5th Street, NW, Keck 574
Washington, DC 20001
Current and Past Fellows