Transitioning from Academia to Science & Health Policy

Monday, January 31, 2022, 5:30 – 6:30 PM CST

Careers in science policy focus on policies, actions, and plans that affect the conduct of science & research, especially as it pertains towards serving the public interest. Policy can shape scientific endeavors at every level. Join our panelists to learn about what drew them to the field, the types of projects that populate their days, the competencies that are required to be successful in these types of careers, and their advice for how to use your scientific training to support your entry into this career path.

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Joe Grange, PhD

Program Cycle Mechanism Data Scientist, Environmental Incentives, LLC

Joe is a Program Cycle Mechanism (PCM) data scientist supporting USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance’s Monitoring and Evaluation team. In this role, Joe provides technical support complementary to traditional monitoring and evaluation efforts such as meta-analyses of under-utilized data, simulation exercises, applications of quasi-experimental evaluative techniques, and remote sensing. Joe’s background of ten years of quantitative research and project management in particle physics prepared him to make an immediate impact in the world of international development through the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. While exploring the universe’s fundamental building blocks was exciting for many years, Joe eventually experienced a growing disconnect between the value of his time and the greater societal benefits of particle physics. Through volunteering with organizations such as DataKind and the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, followed by joining the Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, Joe has since pivoted his career towards the evaluation and optimization of social programs.

Cynthia Li, PhD

Consumer Safety Officer, FDA

Dr. Yuanyuan (Cynthia) Li earned her PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Chicago in 2019. She also conducted a year of postdoctoral training in the same department. She has extensive experience in the research of skin development and skin stem cells. In 2020, Dr. Li joined FDA’s Office of Bioresearch Monitoring Operations (OBIMO) as an Investigator. Since then, she has conducted multiple team assignments and has led several inspections. Her work focuses on inspectional operations, related to clinical and nonclinical research conducted in support of preapproval, licensing, premarket and marketing clearance applications submitted to the agency for products regulated by all FDA Centers.

Alyssa Tonsing-Carter, PhD

Health Science Policy Analyst, NIH

Dr. Alyssa Tonsing-Carter is a Health Science Policy Analyst conducting program analysis and evaluation for ODSS. In this role, she is responsible for analyzing budget, performance, and output data to evaluate program productivity and impact of the implementation activities for the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science. Prior to joining ODSS, Alyssa worked on clinical trials policy in the NIH Office of Science Policy, initially as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow. Prior to joining NIH, she was the Program Manager of the University of Illinois at Chicago/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research focused on pre-clinical and clinical studies of botanical dietary supplement safety. Alyssa has a B.S. in biology from the University of Dayton and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana.