After the PhD: Interview with Adriana Bankston

Adriana Bankston has a PhD in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University. She was previously a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at Society for Neuroscience, and is currently a Principal Legislative Analyst at the University of California Office of Federal Governmental Relations in Washington, DC.

As Principal Legislative Analyst for the University of California, Adriana acts as a federal resource for the university, connecting researchers with policy makers. On a day-to-day basis this includes tasks such as bringing researchers to Capitol Hill to meet with different offices; planning and attending briefings and other events; and writing reports on policy changes. She is also responsible for keeping the University up-to-date with government policies, new and updated bills, and federal research policies that may affect the university. While Adriana’s position has a strong research component, she notes that being in policy and advocacy also requires strong people skills and relationship building.

What advice does Adriana have for PhDs who are interested in working in this field?

“I would say from my experience, what I would suggest is trying to get involved in activities that are not in the lab… that’s how I started. Just doing anything that shows that you’re interested in this career path–and you can do that by volunteering for different organizations. If you know that you want to do science policy, a lot of it is being able to translate research and writing for non-scientists, and so being able to practice that over time is really helpful.”

Watch the whole interview for more about what Adriana does, the skills required for her role, and her advice for graduate students looking at careers beyond the academy.

Connect with Adriana on LinkedIn

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