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Jay Graham

Jay Graham
Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

2008-09 Diplomacy Fellow at the Agency for International Development

Jay Graham had a ten-year career evaluating environmental health interventions on the U.S-Mexico border when he decided to return to school to get a PhD. “I did monitoring and evaluation work for a non-profit based out of El Paso,” he says. “I applied for and received grants, but could never be the PI [principal investigator] because I didn’t have a PhD.” So he decided to go back to school in mid-career.

After finishing his PhD in environmental health engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Jay went to visit a friend, John Borrazzo, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to ask for a job. Borrazzo, a former AAAS Fellow at the EPA and USAID, told him there wasn’t a position, but to apply for the AAAS Fellowship. Jay did and then went back to his friend at USAID and a fellowship opportunity was created tailored to Jay’s strengths. “The timing was perfect,” he says. “I’ve always had an interest in safe sanitation and 2008 was the international year of sanitation, so there has been a lot going on.”

Jay had the opportunity to work in West Africa where he focused on water and sanitation issues. Because of his experience, he also was able to jump in and take the lead on a study of sanitation in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, his biggest accomplishment to date. “We did interviews over a two-week time frame to assess changes in sanitation coverage.”

After the fellowship, Jay would like to continue focusing on the fundamental elements of basic health. “I enjoy programmatic and policy research,” he says. “I’m also interested in a position at a university that would include community interaction and outreach.” His experiences as a AAAS Fellow are preparing him for both.