The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is accepting applications for its science policy fellowship. If you are an American citizen, will have your Ph.D. before July 1 and are passionate about the intersection of science and public policy, then I strongly suggest you consider this unique position.
The one question I get asked the most by prospective applicants is this: “What is your typical day like?” This also happens to be the most difficult question to answer. To break it down, I would say my day consists of four things — writing, monitoring/researching, organizing and attending meetings. And I also should mention that much of this work is done in collaboration with ASBMB Director of Public Affairs Benjamin Corb.
- Writing takes most of my day, but this isn’t because I’m a slow writer. It’s because there is a lot to write about and many audiences to write for. I write emails and meeting summaries for the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee, white papers and other materials for lawmakers and the press and blog pieces and articles for our members and general audiences.
- Monitoring and researching seems simple but can take a fair amount of time. I pay attention to a variety of news sources to find information about legislation and policies that affect scientists. Once I find something of interest, I do some more research to better understand the topic in case I need to formulate a document that relates this information to our members.
- Organization is essential for a job in policy. Almost every project has a deadline, and I have never had fewer than four projects, even on my first day. I take time each day to assess the status of each project and juggle tasks on my schedule if necessary.
- Meetings are an integral part to working in policy. ASBMB has very smart people, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on them. Interacting with others in science policy helps groups with similar goals agree on the most beneficial course of action.
Even though Congress seems to move no faster than a lazy snail, policy is actually a fast-paced affair for which you must keep up with current events, weigh in on important debates and attend meetings on a variety of topics. All while ensuring you meet the myriad deadlines associated with working for a society of almost 12,000 members. Since every day presents new policy issues, projects and deadlines, I can honestly say that, in my seven months at ASBMB, each day has been significantly different from the previous one. But that’s part of what I like about the job.
If you want to know more about the life of the ASBMB science policy fellow, check out the video from our Google+ hangout. And make sure you submit your application soon, because the deadline is March 29!