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Judith Lytle

Judith Lytle
Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

2007-09 National Defense & Global Security (NDGS) Fellow at the U.S. Department of Defense

Good timing and a little luck worked well for Judith Lytle. Just a few months before the fellowship deadline, Judy heard about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships from a former Fellow. “I had to convince my committee to let me defend in time to apply,” Judy explained. She did, knowing that  bench science was not her passion. “I prefer lots of breadth and a little depth,” says Judy, who has a PhD in neuroscience from Georgetown University. “I work on topics now that would never have crossed my mind—topics where I’m not a subject expert.”

When she started her fellowship, Judy was assigned to work with Captain Elizabeth Montcalm-Smith, a program officer in the Biomedical & Biological Division of the Warfighter Performance Science and Technology Department in the Office of Naval Research (ONR). “She was a wonderful mentor and I had a lot of autonomy,” Judy says. “She would hand me a project and let me run with it, but was always there if I needed anything.”

Judy’s primary project as a AAAS Fellow was to work on noise-induced hearing loss—one of the most prevalent conditions suffered by members of the United States military. “The priorities for our programs come from warfighters and are based on their needs,” she explains.

Judy now has a contract position with ONR and is also division director at Avian Engineering, a company that places scientists into jobs like hers. Her work for ONR now involves such problems as decompression sickness, head-neck-back injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder. “I feel like I’m doing something that makes a difference.”