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Use your training to address societal challenges


Jen Wagner
2014-15 AAAS Congressional Fellow
Ph.D., Anthropology






Following her fellowship in the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Jen joined Geisinger Health System as associate director of bioethics research where she leads research used to inform policies and actions. She focuses on emerging ethical, legal, social, and policy issues related to genomic or precision medicine.

Jen says the fellowship’s impact on her research is clear. “My work has both greater depth and breadth, which allows the work to provide insights and policy recommendations that are more practical, feasible, and effective.” Additionally, she says that the fellowship “exponentially” expanded her professional network and helped forge “invaluable” friendships.

She appreciates the value that a AAAS policy fellowship can have for a social scientist: “It would be an eye-opening experience for any anthropologist, regardless of sub-discipline.” As a fellow, she spent her days among legislators, stakeholders, and constituents, giving her direct experience with policymaking.

The ability of anthropologists, as well as other social scientists, to approach issues with a holistic approach is of critical importance, she said. Social scientists provide “some of the most versatile and potentially valuable” insight to the office in which they serve.

I can't put into words how satisfying the fellowship was for me. The year went by far too quickly, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”