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PhD Career Stories: Two Panels on Career Paths in Science Policy

Posted by on Thursday, September 30, 2021 in Upcoming BRET Office of Career Development Events .

This month, the BRET Career Development ASPIRE Program is joining with the Vanderbilt and VUMC Offices of Federal Relations and other campus partners to bring you two virtual panels about career paths in science policy. The first virtual panel features science policy professionals who work for advocacy organizations, Congress, and government relations firms. The second virtual panel features scientists who transitioned to careers in science policy or government relations after completing the prestigious AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship program. Both panels are moderated by Dr. Heather Bloemhard, PhD, assistant director of federal relations for Vanderbilt University.

Additional details about each panel are below, and you may register online for each panel at

Panel I: Science Policy Career Paths

Monday, November 1, 2021 – 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time

A virtual panel discussion with…

Julia Jester, associate vice president for federal relations, Association of American Universities

Damon Dozier, director of government affairs, Materials Research Society

Ashlee Wilkins, PhD, professional staff member, House Science, Space and Technology Committee

Libby O’Hare, PhD, senior principal, Lewis Burke Associates (invited)

Register here



Panel II: AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows Program

Monday, November 8, 2021 – 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time

A virtual panel discussion with…

Edward van Opstal, PhD, lead scientist, Booz Allen Hamilton

Shilpy Dixit, PhD, program director, NIH

Alex Maki, PhD, social scientist, FDA

Amrita Banerjee, PhD, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow (invited)

Register here


Speaker Bios

Shilpy Dixit: Dr. Dixit is Program Director for Prevention and Sleep Health in the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), a branch in the Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI. Dr. Dixit earned her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University  for her research on the detrimental effect of vitamin C deficiency in aging and neurodegeneration. Her interest in the comorbidities that contribute to neurodegeneration led her to a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where her research focus was seizure susceptibility associated with neurodegenerative injury and disease. The AAAS Science & Technology Fellowship brought Dr. Dixit to NCSDR where she strives to elevate the critical relationship between sleep and circadian rhythms biology and health outcomes through coordination  across NIH and other Federal agencies, academia and public stakeholders.

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