Liz Guzy, the administrator for EDGE and the UW Superfund Program, is one of 23 2019 AAAS Community Engagement Fellows headed to DC for a week of professional development activities.

It foretold great things when Liz Guzy won the University of Washington (UW) Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) staff award in 2016, after only a year in her position. Sure enough, today Guzy will head to Washington D.C. to begin her fellowship with the 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Community Engagement Fellows Program.  
            The AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program provides a rare professional development and networking opportunity for people with jobs focused on cultivating engagement and collaboration within communities of scientists. It was created in recognition of the importance of this work, and also because people who play this role often do so without formal training or professional support. As stated by AAAS, the goals of the program are to:
Professionalize and institutionalize the role of community management within scientific organizations;
Provide professional development resources to individuals who manage communities and collaborations in research organizations and scientific organizations;
Collect and disseminate knowledge about building strong collaborations and communities.
            Guzy is perfectly suited to the fellowship, given her four years of experience as Administrator of two large National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences research centers at UW— the Interdisciplinary Center on Exposures, Diseases, Genomics & Environment (EDGE) and Superfund Research Program (UW SRP). The more than 100 members of these two groups represent many UW departments, including: DEOHS, Medicine, Pharmacy, Pediatrics, Genome Sciences, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Nursing, and Bioethics and Humanities as well as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
            Despite the emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration in the grants that fund her Centers, Guzy has noticed that many researchers often continue to collaborate only with those in their own labs. Her goal in undertaking the fellowship in her words is “to learn how to foster interactions that lead to novel collaborations across disciplines and departments,” and to “serve my research community better using the tools and connections that are available through the AAAS Fellowship.”

            After the coming week of professional development in Washington DC, Guzy will continue to engage with the other 22 members of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program though monthly webinars, small group project team work, a mid-year training and experience exchange in DC in June, and an end-of-the-year debrief in DC in December. Along the way she’ll develop her own community playbook to communicate her strategy and tactics for building community and collaboration among the members of EDGE and UW SRP.

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