While in Washington, D.C. for four years as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Trainee earning my Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology, of course, I took advantage of residing in the center of national politics. As a young scientist, I noted that all of the funding for the NSF basic research was controlled by a Subcommittee of the House chaired by Rep. Emilio Q. Daddario. So I went down to his office and volunteered to work.
He gave me several writing assignments such that my words were published in the Congressional Record. As he grew more confident in my abilities, he came in one day and said that he had to give a speech at the dedication of a new science building at the University of Connecticut. He gave me only the title, “Academic Science and the Federal Government.” I wrote every word of the speech which he did not change. I delivered it from notes I had collected and delivered extemporaneous to his wonderful secretary who was so talented she could type as fast as I could talk, myself acting as the Representative. Later, several high-ranking scientists suggested to Science, the journal, that his speech be published as a feature article, as it was. So, while still a completely unknown graduate student, I was effecting national science policy. It was a quite a heady experience, but led to even more surprising results as shown in this social memoir essay I once wrote ……..