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USF PhD Candidate Receives National Public Policy Leadership Award

Karena Nguyen, a PhD candidate in the University of South Florida Department of Integrative Biology, has been selected to receive the 2018 Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award (EPPLA) from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).


Credit: Karena Nguyen, USF
The award recognizes graduate students in the biological sciences who have demonstrated leadership skills and an aptitude for future professional success working at the intersection of science and public policy.


“Being a recipient of the AIBS EPPLA is a pivotal step for me to move from community to national engagement in the sciences,” said Nguyen. “I am incredibly excited to learn how science policy operates and how I can advocate for researchers at the federal level.”


As a researcher, Nguyen’s work focuses on host-parasite interactions as they relate to global climate change. More specifically, she says she is interested in the effects of temperature on schistosomiasis, a human parasitic disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.


Outside the laboratory, Nguyen is actively involved in community outreach and science communication. While at USF, she has worked with students at Pizzo Elementary School by developing an interactive science program for third graders, held leadership positions in student government and represented the university at several regional science events.


“I have been actively involved with science communication because it results in the public not only understanding scientific research, but also viewing scientists as community members,” she said. “Moreover, transparency about the scientific process encourages individuals to invest in the science being presented.”


Nguyen, along with another PhD candidate from the University of California, Berkeley, will travel to Washington, DC, in April to participate in AIBS’ science communications-training program and to meet with members of Congress as part of the organization’s annual Congressional Visits Day.


To learn more about AIBS, visit their website.

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