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SRCD Policy Fellowship

Posted on January 15, 2009

Valerie Maholmes (bio) talks about her experience in a policy fellowship program.


I found out about the Society for Research and Child Development [Policy Fellowship] through one of their e-mail alerts. I got a notice that the applications were due, and I thought, "Oh, this sounds very interesting."

Now, this would give me a wonderful opportunity to really understand policy, and to really understand the nexus of, you know, research and policy, and practice; how it all comes together, and how policy informs research, and vice versa; with a view toward coming back, and then integrating that into my research, and integrating that into the programs that I would develop.

So I applied, and delightfully I was accepted, which surprised me. And we had the choice of deciding whether we would do an executive branch fellowship, or a congressional fellowship. And because I had planned to come back to Yale, I chose the executive branch fellowship, which placed me at NIH.

As a mid-career person, this was a mid-career fellowship for me, I decided to take that route, and just happily so, because when you're doing your own research you focus narrowly on the questions that you have, and you focus narrowly on the questions in your department or in your field. And by being at a place like NIH, you get the breadth and scope of research, and the variety of questions that really enrich how you see some of the public health concerns that are pressing in this country.

And for me, that's really a priority, to look at all of the areas that are brought to bear on how a child is able to develop, and able to have a possible positive outcome in life; and what we might be able to do in terms of bringing research policy and practice together to influence those outcomes.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 Leadership Training Institute in Bethesda, MD.


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