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

Class of 2021 First-Year Fellow: Olivia Brody-Bizar

FYF Olivia Brody

As a First-Year Fellow, Olivia Brody-Bizar ’21 interned at the National Science Foundation under the mentorship of Lisa-Joy Zgorski. The following is an excerpt from her final report.

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As a First-Year Fellow, Olivia Brody-Bizar ’21 interned at the National Science Foundation under the mentorship of Lisa-Joy Zgorski. The following is an excerpt from her final report.

This summer, I interned at the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency that funds basic research to advance national security, national health, and scientific progress. The agency is split into directorates that manage funding for different areas of science, including biology, geoscience, computer science, mathematical and physical science among others. Additionally, the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) works to communicate the mission of the NSF via social media, interactions, events, and conferences to various stakeholders ranging from Congress all the way to the regular United States citizen. By representing the NSF to citizens outside the scientific community, OLPA helps emphasize the importance of continuing to fund basic research to drive innovation.

Within the organization, I worked on stakeholder partnerships and in the strategic communications group. As a part of my role on stakeholder partnerships, I managed the calendar and reminded colleagues to set up initial outreach meetings. Once the meeting times were set, I helped research the priorities of the organization, author the initial briefing memo to prepare for the meeting, and then attended the meeting. I sent out the meeting minutes to the team members in the office who were not able to attend and drafted the follow up email thanking the stakeholders for their time, as well as sent any additional materials their way.

The strategic communications group was a new initiative within the NSF to break down the communication barriers that have siloed the directorates from each other and increase collaboration across the agency. In this role, I helped set the agenda, collected information for the meeting from the various directorate representatives, booked the meeting rooms, and made the slides for the meeting. I also took the meeting minutes to help update any directorate communications liaisons that were absent from the meeting. Outside of the meetings, I also created a website that would function as a place to share communication products among members of the group and a calendar.

It is rare to recognize the impact that certain experiences have on your life as you are living them. I have been fortunate enough to wake up every day this summer and understand the immense opportunity for growth, both professionally and personally, that each day presented. I know that having this fellowship early in my college career has changed the trajectory of my future endeavors, and for that, I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and to all of those who made it possible.

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