The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

2015 First-Year Fellow: Rachel Scholz-Bright '18

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I worked as a First-Year Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that supports and funds scientific research and education. Its mission is to ensure the United States remains at the cutting edge of scientific innovation. The Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) focuses on communicating information about the NSF’s programs, activities and research to congress, the press, and the public.

Rachel Scholz-Bright '18 behind a podium in the National Science Board Conference room.

The most rewarding part of my fellowship was interacting with NSF-funded principal investigators. I had the chance to interview some amazing people, scientists on the cutting edge of their field. Hearing about their work allowed me to combine two of my passions, science and policy, by learning about their research and how the NSF was able to support them. One of the most interesting interviews I conducted was with a researcher who was studying memory. His project was determining how memories are formed during sleep, with a focus on improving recall. Through NSF funding, he was able to discover new techniques to boost memory that could be applied to patients with Alzheimer's or other people with memory disorders. Being able to hear first hand the real impacts of NSF funding showed me how important the agency is and allowed me to understand the importance of continued support for scientific research.
-Written by Rachel Scholz-Bright '18
This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

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