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Life as a Knauss Fellow at the National Science Foundation

July 18, 2012
Water surface.

©Margaret Pizer/VASG

By Stacy Beharry

Science from a different perspective
Every morning as I travel on the elevator up to the seventh floor of the National Science Foundation (NSF), each floor that I pass houses programs in a different discipline of science. In the same way, my experience as a Knauss Fellow in the Ocean Sciences Division of NSF has taken me through a broad range of ocean research. One day I read about coral reef work and the next I “dive” into the world of deep sea flagellates.

Stacy Beharry

Stacy Beharry

In addition to learning about exciting science, I have been able to experience the workings of the other side of research—the world of government-supported grants and science administration. Researchers with innovative ideas for scientific research submit proposals to NSF, and this past May I participated in all the activities required to ensure that the best science gets funded. I was able to assign expert reviewers to proposals, and I participated in the review panel.

While exposure to cutting edge scientific proposals in the field of Biological Oceanography is especially interesting, I also have the opportunity to participate in interagency meetings and represent the Foundation at meetings and conferences.

This interesting work is complemented by the fascinating talks and events hosted by NSF.  A few weeks ago, Venus traveled between the Sun and the Earth and I was able to listen to a lecture on the history and purpose of viewing transits, and then view this one up close using a special telescope. Being able to see Venus was very exciting, and I have plans for the next transit in December 2117.

Thus far, these past five months have been very interesting and rewarding. I am looking forward to what the next few months will bring.

Advice for future and prospective fellows

  • Have an open mind
  • Understand that your schedule changes on a daily basis
  • Have at least two good suits
  • Use your non-stipend funds to attend conferences and symposia
  • Try to attend a few of the many seminars around town – it is a great way to network




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