Hear from Program Assistant Megan Lewis
What is your educational background?
I recently graduated from Fairfield University’s College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Currently, I am attending The George Washington University where I am pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Resource Policy and a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.
What is your position? When did you start working in MCB?
I am the Program Assistant for the Cellular Dynamics and Function cluster as well as the Molecular Biophysics cluster. I started working with the National Science Foundation in the Directorate for Biological Sciences in December 2015 and moved from the Division of Environmental Biology to the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences in January 2016.
What attracted you to work for NSF?
I had just finished interning with an online public forum that focused on engaging the public in environmental issues, and I was really interested in learning how federal agencies are dealing with these types of problems. With my background in biology, I wanted to find an agency that was working towards solutions to these environmental issues through science rather than strictly policy. The National Science Foundation allows me to learn what scientists across the country are trying to do to better understand these problems and find scientific solutions. In addition, I learn how the federal government decides to fund certain research proposals and what goes into that process.
What have you learned so far from your position?
As I’ve only been at the NSF for a little over two months, I come to work each day and leave learning something new. I never realized how much behind the scenes work there is to manage awards and proposals. Overall, I’d say that the most invaluable thing I’ve learned is that even when we think we have a full understanding of a concept, a principle investigator submits a proposal and opens a new door to a way of thinking about an issue or topic. I was taught in school that science is always evolving and growing, and as a college student I would nod and continue taking notes for a lecture. But, at the NSF I’ve actually been able to really see the science evolving.