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UB PhD graduate receives AAAS Science & Technology Policy fellowship

BUFFALO, NY – Jessica O’Neill, a recent University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions PhD scholar, has received a scholarship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was placed with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance in Washington, DC

The office provides life-saving humanitarian assistance – including food, water, shelter, emergency medical care, sanitation and hygiene, and nutrition services – to the world’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach people.

O’Neill received her PhD from the University’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior earlier this year, and received her Master’s of Public Health from the UB in 2014.

She also received her Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from UB and competed on the Bulls’ cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams during her college years. “In fact, I chose UB because coach Vicki Mitchell offered me an NCAA scholarship to help fund my studies,” says O’Neill. “Back then, this scholarship opened the door to college affordability.”

While at UB, O’Neill co-founded the Buffalo Pod of 500 women scientists. The group’s mission is to serve society by making science open, inclusive and accessible and transforming society through the fight against racism, patriarchy and oppressive social norms.

O’Neill is one of 284 highly qualified scientists and engineers who will serve as Science & Technology Policy Fellows for a year in federal agencies and convention offices. The U.S. government benefits from contributions from highly skilled scientists and engineers as they learn firsthand about federal policy making and implementation.

For nearly half a century, the scholarship program has been part of the AAAS ‘mission to advance science and serve society. The program aims to support evidence-based policymaking by harnessing the knowledge and analytical mindset of nature and engineering professionals and developing leaders for a strong American science and technology company. The fellows represent a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds and career levels.

“I am excited about the opportunities the future can offer if policy is based on solid science and developed with fairness and environmental sustainability in mind,” says O’Neill.

“I am humble at the opportunity to learn from respected leaders in national and international politics and grow in the AAAS career development program. I’m looking forward to my first major fellowship project to develop an analytical learning tool to support the design process for international humanitarian aid, food security and resilience activities, ”added O’Neill.

Since the program was launched in 1973, nearly 4,000 fellows have supported the executive, judiciary, and legislative branches of the US government. After the scholarship, many scholarship holders stay in politics at the federal, state, state or international level. Others pursue careers in academia, industry, or the non-profit sector and use their scholarship experience to enhance their contributions and expand their reach.

visit www.aaas.org/stpf to learn more about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of Science and Science Translational Medicine; Science signaling; a digital open access journal, Science Advances; Science immunology; and science robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and comprises more than 250 affiliated scientific societies and academies serving 10 million people. science has the largest sold circulation of any peer-reviewed general scientific journals in the world.