Megan Howard: 2014 PMF
In retrospect, it should not have been surprising - being selected as a PMF means having to prove yourself from day one. But there's the other side - from my first day as a Federal employee on, being a PMF afforded me incredible opportunities for growth and career development, and an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
In my first month on the job as a PMF at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), I was asked to draft testimony and help prepare an agency witness for a congressional hearing. Throughout my first year, I was tasked to support senior leadership from all parts of the FDA with further hearings and other important tasks. As challenging as the work was, I still had help: I was able to learn from incredibly talented and dedicated people with years of government experience, in a challenging but supportive environment. Ultimately, I was able to use my knowledge of Congress to help shape the FDA's communications strategy. I was even able to work on some really important announcements about food safety, and the first year was just the beginning.
In July 2016, I was selected for a rotation with the Health Policy Office of Senator Patty Murray, the Ranking Member on the Senate HELP Committee. While there, I was asked to work on hearings, to staff Senator Murray for meetings with stakeholders, and to participate in negotiations on moving legislation. I got the chance to observe some of the hardest-working and smartest folks in the U.S. Senate. And it paid off: just as my time on the Committee was coming to an end, the 21st Century Cures Act, a major piece of health legislation with an entire title devoted to FDA that touches on issues from medical devices to antibiotics, was passed and signed into law. I was on the Senate floor with my colleagues for debate on the bill, and got to meet Vice President Joe Biden. Perhaps most exciting of all, I was able to go to the White House for the bill signing - President Obama's last signing ceremony in office. That culmination of so much effort and a celebration of our system of government - to say nothing of being in the same room as the President - is a moment I will never forget.
I would never have had the opportunity to meet so many great people, to have so many amazing experiences, or to grow so much professionally in such a short time, without having the chance to be a PMF. The exceptionally supportive and accomplished people I've met through this program have helped me to grow in a way I would not have been able to anywhere else.