NSF

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

Photo for PostThe Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) is excited to announce a new funding opportunity designed to help improve graduate student preparedness for entering the workforce. As the accompanying Dear Colleague Letter NSF 16-067 states, “The NSF will consider support for supplements to existing research awards (FY 2016 and FY 2017) to enhance professional development opportunities for students in PhD programs.” Requests should be made no later than May 20, 2016 for FY 2016 consideration, and no later than April 3, 2017 for FY 2017 consideration.

In MCB, this supplemental funding can be used to support either PhD student participation in professional development courses, or PhD student participation in other experiences that extend beyond the student’s discipline or broaden career options. Please review the Dear Colleague Letter for further information about eligibility and submission requirements.

If you have questions, please contact one of the following MCB representatives from the appropriate cluster:

  • Cellular Dynamics and Function (CDF) and Systems and Synthetic Biology (SSB) Clusters: Charles Cunningham, Program Director, chacunni@nsf.gov
  • Genetic Mechanisms (GM) Cluster: Bill Eggleston, Program Director, wbeggles@nsf.gov
  • Molecular Biophysics (MB) Cluster: Wilson Francisco, Program Director, wfrancis@nsf.gov

Exploring Non-Academic Science Careers: Peace Corps

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a difficult question for many people to answer. Do you have a degree in science, but don’t know what your next career move should be? Are there any options outside academia? For reasons related to recent trends in funding and employment, the scientific community is looking for information regarding opportunities outside the traditional academic environment.

This series, called Exploring Non-Academic Science Careers, will highlight options that allow you to use your scientific expertise in ways that you may not know are out there! Our first post in this series highlighted the Presidential Management Fellowship.

In this second post in our series, we interviewed two scientists, Dr. Theresa Good and Dr. Stacy Kelley, who both work in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Both have successfully completed science PhDs and Peace Corps service. After a short introduction of Peace Corps, we would like to share their thoughts on Peace Corps service as an option for scientists interested in non-academic science careers.

What is Peace Corps?

Peace Corps is a US government agency founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to promote world peace and friendship. Applicants who are selected for service, called Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs), are US citizens age 18 or older with education, life experience, knowledge, or skills who are ready to live and work for 27 months in one of 63 countries.

You can learn more about Peace Corps, fill out an application, or read position descriptions here.

What do Peace Corps Volunteers Do?

During service, Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate with community members or organizations to build capacity at the grassroots-level. A PCV’s role during service is unique – defined by the overlap of their own interest and abilities with the needs and goals of the community, host nation, and Peace Corps agency. PCVs work alongside host-country counterparts in international development on a micro-scale by innovating sustainable solutions to large systemic issues like climate change, agricultural challenges, community economic development, health challenges (such as nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and water security), education and literacy, gender equality and letting girls learn, and youth development.

Each Peace Corps experience starts with training. PCVs live with a host family in their host nation while learning to speak one or more languages, core and technical aspects of their role, and history, culture, and customs for three months. Then, PCVs move to a host community where they live and work for an additional two years. PCVs who complete their 27 months of service are welcomed back as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV).

How Did You Hear About Peace Corps?

Dr. Theresa Good: I am the Deputy Division Director of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). When I was a graduate student at Cornell, doing a project on the mathematical modeling of E. coli back in the early days of systems biology, Peace Corps came on my radar. Cornell had some programs that seemed to attract RPCVs. It was hard not to romanticize about the idea of joining Peace Corps especially when you heard RPCVs’ stories.

Dr. Stacy Kelley: I am a Biologist in the Division of MCB. My husband first introduced me to Peace Corps. We both believe in public service, and loved the idea of living overseas. Some may see it as idealism, but we knew Peace Corps was right for us. The only question was when? I was in graduate school, teaching and conducting PhD lab research, with my sights set on a fulfilling career in academia. Stepping off of that well-defined path was frightening, so we talked with a Peace Corps recruiter to make a more informed decision.

What was the reason you decided to join the Peace Corps?

Dr. Theresa Good: I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with my research, or if I really wanted a PhD. As I was searching around, not sure of the relevance of my research, it seemed to me that while I was trying to sort out what I wanted to do, I could do something that “made the world a better place.” I never thought I was altruistic; I was just trying to find myself in a socially acceptable way.

I had suggested to the Peace Corps recruiter that as a chemical engineer specializing on growing bacteria in a bioreactor, I should be able to teach people how to grow fish in a pond. But instead, Peace Corps asked me to teach biology and chemistry in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It seemed like an adventure! But, I also had no idea what I was getting into.

Dr. Stacy Kelley: Talking with a recruiter convinced me Peace Corps was the right choice, so we filled out an application. The application and selection process was different back then. For example, it took us weeks to fill out the paper application, and now you can do it online in about an hour. Where we would be living and working was a surprise, but now you can request a specific country and position. We knew it took longer for married couples to be placed, so we applied and thought we would just fit it in to my scientific career once we were accepted. We had no idea that more than two years later, we would be asked to serve…just as I was about to graduate with my PhD. We can still remember the excitement of opening the envelope that said where we were serving!

What are the professional and personal benefits of Peace Corps service?

Dr. Theresa Good: I discovered I loved to teach and that I was good at it. There is something magical about that moment when students “get it”, when that the light bulb goes on. My village lacked electricity and running water. I will never forget when my students did an experiment for the first time in a chemistry lab with water we got from a stream using donated materials that were tucked away for years in a supply room. After adding metal to a solution, they noticed bubbles evolving and came running to me saying (in French, not English) “Miss, miss, is this a reaction?”…and they finally got what they were learning. Wow!

I also discovered how resourceful I was – you can’t actually survive for 2 years in the DRC without being resourceful. Being resourceful is a skill that translates to all areas of life.

Jim Olds, the Assistant Director of Biological Sciences, asks me periodically about my resilience as a leader. Peace Corps is a great opportunity to practice resilience – at least in my village, you never knew what to expect – so having a sense of humor and the ability to adapt (and thrive) in the midst of change – was important.

Finally, diversity is an important value at the NSF – we value diverse opinions, people who can work with diverse people, and people who come from diverse environments.

Theresa

Dr. Theresa Good (far right) talking with other Peace Corps Volunteers in Zaire.

After living for two years in an environment where I was the one who was different (the only white woman who some of the people in my village had ever seen), I gained a whole new appreciation for diversity. I also gained an appreciation for working with students from different cultures (whose English language skills might not match their intellectually ability in their technical area). I spent two years teaching in French (a language I had learned in high school, but was not particularly good at when I first got to the Democratic Republic of Congo), so I knew first-hand what it was like to be “really smart, but have language skills of a 5-year-old.”

I found by becoming more resourceful and resilient in Peace Corps, I became a better researcher in graduate school in Wisconsin. Resourcefulness and resiliency are both important skills in science when experiments fail or your proposal gets rejected. Really, when something “hard” happens now, I know it really isn’t that hard compared to some of the other things I’ve been through in Peace Corps service.

Dr. Stacy Kelley: I served in Youth Development working with youth, adults, and communities to improve the social, economic, and leadership opportunities available to youth. My husband served in Community Economic Development helping small businesses, teaching business and computing classes, and developing entrepreneurs. Though my work was not directly related to science, I found ways to incorporate my love of science into everything I did. For example, during Graduate School I taught college students about HIV infection in a lecture hall in English, and in Peace Corps, I taught high school students about HIV infection on a soccer field in Spanish. I used my scientific data collection and evaluation skills to co-create an online, monitoring and evaluation system that are still being used. My husband used science in his community project creating robotic tractors for agriculture. As a married couple serving in the same community, we often worked together on secondary projects including science fairs, murals, and teaching English and computing. These experiences uniquely round out my scientific resume.

After serving in Peace Corps, I have terrific examples for job interviews of overcoming challenges, working in a multicultural setting, developing and managing small or large scale projects, multitasking, and most of all – resourcefully innovating MacGyver-style with whatever you have or can find to make everything you need. Life in Peace Corps is an adventure – difficult, exciting, and filled with change – requiring me to find the best in myself and adapt quickly to challenges such as power or water outages, cold showers, long bus rides, earthquakes, or new social norms. I also found I was stronger than I knew – overcoming the personal sacrifices of missing my brother’s wedding, aunt’s funeral, and nephew’s birth. My husband and I are now more resilient – better able to make mistakes, laugh at ourselves, and handle challenging situations with greater ease.

Peace Corps Volunteers receive benefits and professional development. One of the biggest professional benefits for me was becoming part of an expansive network of diverse RPCV peers who generously help newly minted RPCVs find their place in the world. The training and experience you receive conducting data management, project design and management, grant writing, and managing budgets, combined with unique experiences that change your perspective on the world, are also highly valued by potential employers, including Employers of National Service who have committed to hiring RPCVs. If you are interested in working for the US Government, RPCVs are awarded one year of non-competitive eligibility (NCE) status that makes the hiring process a little easier. Being an RPCV, you also have the ability to apply for high-impact, short-term assignments called Peace Corps Response. Those with a medical doctor or nursing background can apply for Global Health Service Partnership positions.

Overwhelmingly for me, the benefits of Peace Corps service were deeply personal. My husband and I have countless, priceless memories of heartfelt moments with so many people – from those we only interacted with for a few moments while waiting for a bus on a dusty road, to those we saw everyday walking up green, mango tree covered mountains in the hot sun. In Peace Corps, we found a second family, a new home, and are now finding it harder to answer the question “Where are you from?” All this from taking a road less traveled, a non-traditional path towards a career in science.

Any advice you would give to someone who is interested in science and Peace Corps?

Dr. Theresa Good: There are so many more opportunities to serve in the Peace Corps now than there were in the 80’s. I was one of the few (only) chemical engineers that joined the Peace Corps – and while teaching Chemistry was somewhat relevant, there are more relevant projects available to Peace Corps Volunteers now. The Peace Corps is a great way to get some experience – but also grow personally and in leadership skills you might not have the opportunity to use in other “entry level” positions. So – if you find an opportunity that fits, are willing to explore a more circuitous path, and you have a sense of humor and a sense of adventure – go for it!

If you know of a great alternative way to use your science degree and want us to highlight the opportunity for readers, let us know!

MCB welcomes Dr. Steven Clouse, Program Director for the Cellular Dynamics and Function Cluster

What were you doing before you came to the NSF?

I was a professor for 28 years; 21 years at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and seven years at San Diego State University. I had an active research program on plant hormone signal transduction which involved postdoctoral scientists, graduate students, undergraduates and high school student interns and several collaborators in the U.S., Europe and China. I also taught graduate courses in plant biochemistry and plant molecular biology.

What attracted you to work for NSF?

My research was funded by NSF continuously for 30 years, starting with an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in plant biology and concluding last summer with a large grant on plant proteomics. I also reviewed many NSF proposals and served on several NSF panels during that period, so I was familiar with the NSF mission and operational procedures. I wanted to contribute something to NSF before retiring and also be exposed to the breadth of science that NSF funds.

What was your first impression of NSF? Has this impression changed since you began serving as a rotator?

I was impressed by the collegiality of the program directors and the helpfulness and skill of the support staff. This impression has continued to grow during the two months I have been here.

What are the personal goals you most want to accomplish while at NSF?

To work with my colleagues to fund the best possible science in our discipline and broaden my scientific perspective from a focus on my own individual research to interdisciplinary approaches.

What has surprised you most about working at NSF?

The large amount of new software that needed to be learned to accomplish the different tasks a program director is required to do.

What are some of the challenges of serving as a rotator?

Starting my rotation just weeks before panel season required learning a lot of different things quickly and reading a very large number of proposals in order to assign panelists and reviewers in a timely manner.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about serving as a program director at NSF?

A very worthwhile endeavor, particularly if your research program is well established and can continue to function with periodic visits to the home institution. If timing is flexible, begin the rotation several months before the first panel duties.

When your friends/colleagues find out that you work at NSF, what do they say or ask?

They are impressed and think it is a good move.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Since I really have only just started, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and learning the fine points of becoming a good program director.

Exploring Non-Academic Science Careers: Presidential Management Fellowship

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a difficult question for many people to answer. Do you want to pursue science but don’t know what options are out there? Do you have a degree in science but don’t know what your next career move should be? Are there any options outside academia? For reasons related to recent trends in funding and employment opportunities, the scientific community is looking for information regarding opportunities outside the traditional academic environment.

This series will highlight options that allow you to use your scientific expertise in ways that you may not know are out there! This is the first post of what we hope become the widely read Blog theme: Exploring Non-Academic Science Careers.

My name is Reyda P. Gonzalez Nieves. Since I was a kid, I had a passion for science. It was the one subject in school where I excelled. It was also because of science that I am able to be here today. Science saved my life, literally. Time passed and as I got older, I realized that I wanted to pursue studies in cell molecular biology. I got my Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamon Campus and my PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda MD.

I have always believed that you should pursue what you are passionate about. Early in my PhD studies, I realized that traditional academia was not for me. But…what else could I do with a PhD in science? That question kept me up many nights. I didn’t want to be away from science, but I didn’t know what direction I should take. The thought of not pursing a post-doc was crazy in the eyes of others. I started looking into different options, but in all honesty it was really hard. I was scared that I would regret my decision. Most importantly, I was scared that the outcome was not going to be ideal. I wished I had more information or a person who made a similar step outside of academia to talk to.

During my search, I found the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF). The PMF program is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This program focuses on training future leaders in the federal government. It is prestigious and includes a two-year fellowship that, upon completion, offers you the opportunity to become a permanent federal employee. You will need a MA/MS, Ph.D., or J.D. degree in any academic discipline to be eligible to apply. Graduate school really trains you well for something like this, because it is a highly competitive process to become a PMF fellow.

As a PMF fellow, you have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a government employee in all aspects. You have the ability to make a positive impact in the agency you are appointed to work in. It also provides you with an opportunity to participate on a detail assignment, which is four to six-months as a fellow in another office or agency outside of your primary appointment. Back in 2014, the PMF Program piloted the PMF STEM track with the goal of identifying and training future STEM leaders for Federal government service. You can find all the STEM degrees solicited for the 2016 STEM track here.

I was hired in April of 2014 as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division at the National Science Foundation (NSF). I currently work as a Biologist. My position is completely different from my work as a graduate student. Now, I am able to see and contribute to the other side of grant proposals. As a graduate student I applied for grants. As a Biologist at the NSF, I help the Division and Program Officers with the proposal cycle. I work on special projects for Senior Management and Program Directors. I manage the Division blog, analyze statistics, gather data, mentor summer interns, assist Program Directors during scientific grant review panels, assist Principal Investigators with Sharing Science, and much more. I have the opportunity to take classes and attend conferences to further my professional development. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience.

My advice to those who are thinking about what to do with their scientific degrees is to pursue what inspires you. If it is academia, go for it. If it is not, that’s okay. My point is that there are always hurdles along the way, but if you are pursuing something you are passionate about, it will all be worth it in the end. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to pursue something that for others seems impossible. I am very glad that I applied to the PMF program. In the end, only YOU will know what is best for you.

There is clearly a need in our community for information about Non-academic Science Career Opportunities. Our goal with this Blog theme is to show our readers alternate avenues outside of a traditional academic path. If you know of a great alternative way to use your science degree and want us to highlight the opportunity for readers, let us know!

Welcome to MCB Megan Lewis!

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.

Sharing MCB Science: Single-molecule motions and interactions in live cells

The nucleotides (As, Ts, Cs, and Gs) of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are copied in a process called DNA replication, which is performed by a complex of molecular machinery called the replisome. The coding strand of double stranded DNA acts as a blueprint for the replisome, storing information that is critical for explaining how to create sub-cellular molecules like proteins. This information-storage feature of the DNA coding strand is precious, because one small change in the sequence of nucleotides making up the DNA coding strand could result in a mutation that is harmful to the cell or organism.

To guard against mutations, all cells contain various DNA repair systems. DNA repair works to preserve the information in the DNA coding strand by maintaining the order of nucleotides. For decades, a protein known as MutS has been shown to play a key role in DNA repair. MutS binds to mispaired bases or “errors” that occur in the DNA sequence and initiates their correction. Like searching for a needle in a haystack, MutS must search for and identify a single error in the DNA sequence that occurs just once in tens of millions of correct pairings.

For many years, the process by which MutS searches for an error in the DNA sequence has been unknown to scientists, because they have lacked the resolution necessary to detect the searching behavior of MutS. A research collaboration between University of Michigan Associate Professor Dr. Lyle Simmons, Assistant Professor Dr. Julie Biteen, and their co-workers in the Departments of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Chemistry, resulted in a recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It details the discovery of how a single MutS molecule conducts its search for DNA in need of repair inside a living bacterial cell.

MutS movement to the replisomeUsing real time super-resolution microscopy and single-molecule tracking in living bacterial cells, the Simmons and Biteen research teams discovered MutS moves around the cell very rapidly looking for DNA in need of repair. Yet, as seen in this image on the left depicting the movement of MutS in a bacterial cell (shown in black), MutS also moves to the replisome (circled in white) and pauses to search for errors before moving away.  The behavior of MutS is indicated in the image by tracking its movements (colored purple to red).  Strikingly, the Simmons and Biteen research teams show that MutS is also positioned at the replisome in cells during normal growth, prior to the formation of an error in DNA.  Such a localized search behavior at the replisome by MutS allows for the rapid and efficient recognition of errors in the DNA sequence, and allows MutS to initiate DNA repair before those errors become permanent mutations.  Dr. Simmons notes, “This work provides a new fundamental insight into how MutS searches for rare base-pairing errors in the complex environment of a living cell.”

Dr. Simmons and his lab members bring their excitement about science discovery from their laboratory to elementary, high school, and university classes through hands on experiments in K-5 classes, analysis of genomic data with high school students, and design of new curriculum to ensure the success of diverse students pursuing science PhDs.

This work is funded by the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Award #MCB-1050948.

In Honor of Dr. Kamal Shukla

Since the beginning of the MCB blog, this is the hardest blog post that we’ve ever had to write. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Kamal Shukla, Program Director and Cluster Leader for Molecular Biophysics in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB). This is a tremendous loss for all of us.

Dr. Shukla dedicated his whole life to the advancement of science. He worked in MCB for over 20 years. Dr. Shukla was an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2000 and has received many awards, including the Director’s Distinguished Service Award from the National Science Foundation in 2010 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Biophysical Society in 2015.

As a scientist, he was ahead of his time… he was a visionary leader. He was not afraid to speak up for what he thought was right. Dr. Shukla was a mentor and a friend. He was an example of integrity, dedication, commitment, loyalty, hard work, respect and leadership. The thought of not seeing him anymore is a painful one, but the legacy he left behind is greater than our sadness. Dr. Shukla was a great colleague and human being. He was a gift to all who knew him. We will always treasure the great memories we had with him. He will always be missed, but never forgotten.

“When someone you love becomes a MEMORY, the memory becomes a TREASURE.” – Author Unknown

Looking Ahead in 2016

The MCB blog went live on January 19, 2015 to provide an opportunity for transparent dialogue between the Division and our readers. Once a week, a new blog post is added that covers one of the themes highlighted below.

In 2015, the primary themes were: (1) Getting to Know MCB, including MCB Points of Contact and posts titled “This is MCB,” “Welcome to MCB,” “MCB Welcomes,” and “Farewells,” which introduced you to (or said goodbye to) Program Directors, Staff, and Interns; (2) Awards, which celebrated and recognized honors received by Staff and Program Directors; (3) Job Announcements for MCB positions available at NSF; (4) Sharing Science, which highlighted the recent publication of a discovery by MCB-funded Investigators; and (5) Broader Impacts, which covered the exciting work of the National Alliance for Broader Impacts and the Broader Impacts activities of MCB-funded PIs via Sharing Science posts.

As we look ahead in 2016, we are excited to announce the expansion of MCB Blog themes.  New blog posts will focus on:

  • Advice for Young Scientists:  You may be ready to take the next step in your career and value advice from those who have gone before you.  To help you on your way, we will continue our series that asks researchers, investigators, rotators, and Program Directors to provide wisdom and advice for young scientists.
  • Exploring Non-academic Science Careers:  What do you want to be when you grow up?  It’s a difficult question for most people to answer.  The good news is there are many exciting career options outside of academia.  This series will highlight options that allow you to use your scientific expertise and you may not know are out there!
  • MCB Statistics:  What scientist doesn’t love data?  In this series, we will get down to the nitty gritty and provide real data to answer some of the questions you may have about the merit review and proposal process of MCB at NSF.
  • Benefits of Being at NSF: Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be part of the National Science Foundation?  This series will focus on the benefits of being an NSF-MCB Program Director, Rotator, or Panelist.
  • Outreach: Outreach takes on many forms, including conferences, panels, discussions, presentations, publications, and broader impacts.  In an effort to motivate scientists new to the endeavor and encourage the participation of under-represented groups in science, we will use this series to highlight the Outreach efforts of MCB.

Do you like where we are heading?  Please let us know by completing this simple survey:

 

Feel free to share your feedback, science, and ideas for future blog posts.

Welcome to MCB Stacy Kelley!

stacykelley

Hear from Biologist Dr. Stacy Kelley

What is your educational background? 

I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry/molecular biology, chemistry, and economics with honors from Illinois State University, and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 What is your position? When did you start working in MCB?

I am a Biologist in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, and I started on November 29th, 2015.

 What attracted you to work for NSF?

The funding provided by the National Science Foundation stimulates some of the most cutting edge research in science. As a graduate student, one often plays a role in the creation of data or text for proposals. You get a glimpse of the merit review process from the outside looking in, feeling the highs and lows along with your advisor. It is intriguing and informative to be on the other side of the curtain, and see the process in action. I also appreciate the philosophy of using data analysis to drive decision making to promote the progress of science. When I saw NSF’s commitment to its employees through benefits, flexibility through telework, and deserved recognition as one of the best places to work in the federal government, it sealed the deal.

 What have you learned so far from your position?

I have learned NSF fosters a healthy work-life balance. Starting in late November was ideal, because I have had the unique opportunity to get to know MCB staff and coworkers at holiday gatherings filled with cheer and delicious food. I love the positive working environment, and greatly appreciate everyone who has reached out to mentor, train, or help me more quickly find my place here at NSF… Thank you all!