Elizabeth Burrows

2014-16 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Elizabeth is currently in her first year as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at National Science Foundation (NSF). She works on a range of projects related to math-science co-funding and government-wide efforts related to big data.  

Prior to this, she worked for 2.5 years at a biofuels startup company in Massachusetts. Because of her interdisciplinary background, she served as the liaison between the biology and bioprocessing departments. This included mainly lab work in both departments, but also outdoor, scale-up work at the pilot plant.  During graduate school, Elizabeth also completed an ecosystem informatics minor as part of an NSF Integrative Graduate Education & Research Traineeship fellowship program. This minor directly followed from her previous position at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, studying the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems, mainly at Harvard Forest in Massachusetts. She also worked at Harvard Forest for 2.5 years upon completion of her Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College, where she conducted research on the carbon budget of wetlands. Her interests span from microbiology to macro-scale ecosystem modeling, with a goal of reducing human’s environmental impact.  

In a recent chat with fellows, Elizabeth highlighted some of the areas of her work at the NSF: 

“I applied for the fellowship, because my research both in climate change and bio fuel has always been extremely applied, and I didn’t have a strong background in policy. A lot of the currency of the government comes in text-rich PDF documents. I’ve been doing text analytics to figure out issues, such as the level of overlap with different divisions. There is a new program called Math Science Innovation Incubator and I have been able to shape it significantly, given my interdisciplinary background. I’ve been helping to write the Big Data strategic plan with 17 governmental agencies and I am running the Big Data brown bags at the NSF.”

Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
9 February 2016