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A Scientist/Educator Becomes Science Advocate

When Anna Quider, 2011-12 Congressional Fellow sponsored by the American Physical Society and 2012-14 Executive Branch Fellow at Department of State, became director of federal relations for Northern Illinois University in July, she found the perfect fit.

Anna Quider is setting her sights on science advocacy. | Amanda Smith

Why did you decide to go into advocacy?

I see myself as a scientist and an educator. I wanted a position that would let me honor those two defining elements of myself while still working in the policy arena. I prioritized finding a position that would let me advance a wide array of issues I believe in while applying my skills  and experience as an academic scientist with the unusual combination of work experience in Congress and a federal agency. A people-centric, communication-intensive position is important to me as well. Becoming director of federal relations for Northern Illinois University, a large research university in DeKalb, IL, is a perfect fit!

What skills or insights have you brought from your fellowship into your new position? 

Both of my AAAS fellowships provided me with practical, hands-on experience and responsibilities within the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. For example, during my Congressional Fellowship, I handled the education and science portfolios for Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO) – an experience that has proven invaluable for my new position. Being a fellow also helped me build a robust and far-reaching professional network. In sum, my three years as a fellow have prepared me well for helping my university effectively and strategically interface with the federal government. 

How do you feel about staying in Washington? 

Remaining in Washington is a high priority for me. This area has so much to offer professionally, culturally, and personally (my husband is from this area). I foresee us being in the area for a long while to come.