FABBS Welcomes New Interns
February 9, 2022
FABBS welcomed two spring interns – Anna Peña-Gomez from Florida International University and Alexis Rodriguez from Arizona State University. FABBS offers undergraduate hybrid internship opportunities for the spring, summer, and fall semesters, where students can gain experience in the fields of science communication and advocacy in the nation’s capital. We invited Anna and Alexis to (another) interview to discuss what they hope to get out of the experience and their projects during their time at FABBS.
Can you introduce yourself and what you’re currently studying in college?
Anna: My name is Anna Peña-Gomez (she/her), and I’m a sophomore at Florida International University. I am a psychology major with interests in the cross-cultural contexts of mental illness and treatment.
Alexis: My name is Alexis Rodriguez (he/him), and I’m a senior at Arizona State University obtaining a B.A. in Social Justice and Human Rights, a Spanish Minor, and a Translation Certificate (Spanish). I am currently developing an undergraduate honors thesis for Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, focusing on the specific motivating factors for obtaining U.S. citizenship after 20+ years of residency, specifically among Latino Legal Permanent Residents.
What interested you about FABBS and how might this align with your professional plans?
Anna: As a psychology major, seeing FABBS’ accomplishments in allocating fundamental funding to the brain and behavioral sciences has shown me that I want to accomplish similar work in the field and help ensure that the behavioral sciences are supported in Congress. This experience has also shown me how to connect what I have learned in an academic setting to my work with FABBS. This federation communicates the importance of behavioral and brain sciences, and I am learning more about the ins and outs of research communications.
Alexis: FABBS’ work in advancing the capabilities of research in human behavior and the brain is fundamental, as it has been evident that research can make a difference in addressing the needs of underserved communities. As a student at a public research institution, I became extremely curious as to the intersection of research and policy, and the need to inform public policy with evidence from behavior and cognitive disciplines.
What do you plan on working on during your time with FABBS?
Anna: I plan to help advance FABBS’ diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, as previously outlined by FABBS President, Dr. Rubin, and in consultation with the FABBS Board and staff. We will be developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) proposal and I will provide support for the FABBS DEI committee in framing the FABBS DEI mission statement and vision, using recommendations from the psychological and behavioral sciences. In conjunction with resources developed by previous interns, my work would lead to a DEI webpage, available to the public and to member organizations, to highlight FABBS’ DEI statement and efforts, to promote our sciences and member societies’ DEI initiatives, and to identify the future opportunities to advance DEI within our organization and throughout our sciences.
Alexis: One of the exciting projects I will be working on includes developing a database that follows the levels of support from Members of Congress towards the advancement of research in the behavioral and cognitive sciences. I hope it proves to be an effective tool in their advocacy efforts both on and off the Hill. More broadly, I also look forward to gaining hands-on experience working with Congressional staff, FABBS’ member societies, and partners on the shared mission of advancing the sciences.
What are your plans post-graduation?
Anna: After graduation, I hope to continue working with brain and behavioral sciences, as it has always been a field that has interested me. Additionally, I hope to better advocate for racial and ethnic minorities throughout my career.
Alexis: My hope is to continue working in advocacy to inform the literature, public policy, and community organizations on evidence-based approaches on closing the gaps related to obtaining citizenship.