Hear from Program Specialist Kelly Ann Parshall
What is your educational background?
I majored in English writing with a concentration in African Studies. My objective was to work in development in sub-Saharan Africa. However, when I received my Peace Corps invitation, it was to the South Pacific. Despite the surprise, I had a great experience working in health and environmental initiatives in the small island nation of Vanuatu. This fall I will start attending American University part-time to pursue a masters in Global Environmental Policy.
What is your position? When did you start working in MCB?
As a Program Specialist, I support the Genetic Mechanisms cluster as well as the Systems and Synthetic Biology cluster. I started working in MCB in April 2016.
What attracted you to work for NSF?
When my Peace Corps service concluded, I knew I wanted to work for the government or at a nonprofit. I particularly loved my third year assignment working for the German government on climate change, conservation and natural resource management initiatives. In the biology community in Vanuatu, I saw extraordinary technology-facilitated advances like drones zapping invasive crown of thorns starfish to save reefs. While the projects MCB funds are a bit different, I am happy to support such a wonderful mission.
What have you learned so far from your position?
As someone who has worked in aid, I have spent a significant amount of time applying to grants, assembling funding leads and liaising with donors. It’s nice to be on the other side! NSF operates on a significantly larger scale than any organization I’ve ever been a part of before. It’s amazing to see the thoroughness and transparency with which grantees are selected. I’m looking forward to supporting the entire proposal process as the year progresses.