Science Assistant


Olaf Corning joined MCB as a science assistant in early March.

Photo of Olaf

What attracted you to work for the NSF?
The NSF had been a subtle but steady influence on my undergraduate education, funding the research around me and enabling friends to pursue PhDs, but it wasn’t until I was interning in Congress that the desire to work at the Foundation seized me.

In the wake of the NSF’s 70th anniversary, the Hill was embroiled with debate over the NSF’s future. As Congress discussed Vannevar Bush’s intent, the numerous successes of the agency, and the challenges it could still solve, I realized this was a place I wanted to work. The Foundation is filled with people fundamentally committed to the celebration of knowledge, expanded access to science, and acceleration of scientific innovation. I am tremendously excited to be able to participate in the NSF’s mission and learn about how it operates and can grow with the needs of the Nation.

How was your relocation?
As smooth as it gets: I was already here! I moved to DC in 2016 for my undergraduate degree at the George Washington University. I’ve come to love the city. Washington, D.C. is incredibly walkable, has beautiful architecture, fantastic local parks, and a tremendous variety of available activities. Having grown up in a rural area in Florida, I am particularly enamored with the Metro. The stations and trains are a great resource and are their own peculiar art form. People here are friendly and quick to make friends. DC sees a lot of turnover and people compensate for it. If you are considering relocating to DC, you are sure to feel welcome.

mcb welcomes three new staff members

MCB has welcomed three new staff members to its ranks during the past several months. Dr. Manju Hingorani, who filled a rotator position as program director during 2014-2016, returns to MCB as a permanent program director in the Molecular Biophysics cluster. Allison Burrell, science assistant, joined MCB this past January; Bridget Johnson, program assistant, followed in March. Learn more about the unique experiences each brings to her respective role below. (more…)

Welcome to MCB Philip Andrew Helig!

Hear from Science Assistant Philip Andrew Helig

What is your educational background?

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor’s of Science. While there, I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry.

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

I started working as a Science Assistant in June of 2015. As a Science Assistant, I do special projects for the division, assist Principal Investigators during proposal submission, translate some of the more complicated science into plain language, and assist with the MCB Blog posts.

What attracted you to work for NSF?

Last year, I had the opportunity to work as an intern in the Division of Environmental Biology and MCB. This prior experience at NSF led me to apply for the position of Science Assistant. I knew this job was perfect for me because of my science background and my love for the subject. I also knew that this would be an amazing networking opportunity, with an abundance of science professionals available for me to talk to about a possible future in science. I really liked the people that I worked with at NSF.

What have you learned so far from your position?

In my previous appointments at NSF, I was in charge of organizing and retiring files. That experience greatly strengthened my organizational skills.

Though I was somewhat comfortable with my writing abilities when at school, it wasn’t until I started working here as a Science Assistant that I really started to feel confident. Being surrounded by people who are so passionate about science has reinforced my love for science. My interest in biology and biochemistry has grown significantly since I started working in MCB.