American University gives the researchers a lot of flexibility to take intellectual risks. We can think about problems that are really important to society, and yet are not necessarily what all the other scientists are thinking about.
We have a lot of great collaborations with local government institutions, collaborations with NASA, and the National Institutes of Health, as well as the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. We collaborate with Georgetown Medical Center to do functional MRI scans to better understand the circuits that are affected in autism.
I was involved in a project looking at how effective green roofs were at taking nutrients out of storm water flow. And other faculty in my department- he flies drones around and couldn't quantify, for example, the carbon sequestration that takes place on a landscape over the large scale, which as you might imagine, for people interested in global carbon budgets, what on earth the plants are doing is really important.
Students in my research group in particular, some of them prove theorems. A lot of them write software. I dragged them out to meet funders, and that gets them right in the trenches with me.
My mentor has a great deal for neuroscience, and it's infectious. I'm able to work on real data and to publish real manuscripts in premier academic journals to attend international conferences and represent the work of my fabulous advisor with her support through and through.
So our curriculum really prepares students to influence policy and influence business. Our students are expected to become versed in science communication, and this has landed them in positions in biotechnology companies, positions at NASA positions at other technology companies obtaining policy jobs, and they're working at kind of the higher level of business management as opposed to the lab technology level.