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Biotechnology Student Lands Prestigious Fellowship

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Kimberly Church, a Johns Hopkins University master’s in biotechnology student, has landed the prestigious designation of Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) finalist.

The federal PMF is a leadership development program, established in 1977, for advanced degree candidates. According to the PMF website, the program “attracts and selects the best candidates possible, but it really designed with a more narrow focus: developing a cadre of potential government leaders.” During their two-year appointments, PMFs receive a salary; training on leadership, management and policy; and real-world experience working for the federal government.

More than 6,000 people applied for the 2018 PMF program. Of the 425 finalists, two are students in JHU’s Advanced Academic Programs, including Church.


Now that Church has been named a finalist, she will apply for a specific appointment with a government agency. She is looking at possibilities with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration, as well as with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others.

“It will really help me boost my confidence in my skill set and help me identify my long-term career goals,” said Church, who is considering a career in regulatory affairs project management for the federal government.

Church, 24, is from Richmond, Va. She graduated with a bachelor’s in chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015 and worked as a formulation chemist for a chemical company. Her work focused on detergents.

She decided she wanted to shift her focus and concentrate on biotechnology and medicine, perhaps gene therapy and personalized medicine. Church enrolled in the JHU biotechnology master’s program in the summer of 2016. She likes the flexibility of the program, having taken some classes online and others in evenings at the Montgomery County Campus.

Taking evening courses allows her to work during the day as a post-baccalaureate research fellow for the National Institutes of Health Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, which is within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Church credits the biotechnology program with helping her find good mentors. It was a discussion with her career services adviser that led her to apply for the PMF program.

She hopes to begin her PMF appointment soon after she graduates from the JHU biotechnology program in May.

CATEGORY: Academics