Just after completing her dissertation at ASU, Marci moved to Alexandria, VA, to start a fellowship at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While at ASU Marci was named a Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) finalist. The PMF is a two-year government fellowship, though it does not guarantee placement in an agency. Through many phone calls and a visit to Washington, DC, Marci met her now-boss, who directs the Climate Change Program Office at USDA. Marci’s dissertation was tangentially related to climate, but it had focused on agriculture and she had taken several courses on climate and sustainability at ASU. That and her experience writing and editing for the Embryo Project Encyclopedia made her a good fit for her position as a Climate Change Specialist. Marci’s work includes coordinating research on national greenhouse gas estimates for agriculture, producing and reviewing government reports, and even reviewing greenhouse gas inventories of specific countries. Marci has travelled to Germany several times for meetings at the United Nations’ climate change headquarters.
Marci is currently in the process of converting to a permanent position at USDA and her husband is finishing up his dissertation. She’s not sure what the future will hold for them, but for now she is continuing her work on greenhouse gas estimation and a recent project on improving conservation practice adoption data. The PMF requires a short rotation at another agency, so Marci chose to spend 4 months at the Office of the Chief Data Officer in Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG), because she was interested in how other agencies utilize data for planning and decision-making. In her role at HHS OIG, Marci led several process-improvement efforts such as a survey of agency executives and publishing an online work plan for the agency.
Marci has also kept up with some academic pursuits, including turning her dissertation into a book (not yet published) with Purdue University Press, reviewing articles, attending conferences, and keeping up with the ASU science policy crowd in DC. Working a fulltime government job means that Marci has limited time for these activities, but she is satisfied with her choice to take a non-academic job. For students who are interested in non-academic careers, Marci recommends improving their technical skills, whether it is editing, GIS, web design, etc., and networking with people in their desired career through conferences and personal connections. Getting work experience through internships and summer jobs is also a good idea.
More Information: Marci Baranski (firstname.lastname@example.org)