Where Are They Now: Kaylee Towey Drafts Public Policy Proposals

By Marie White, staff writer; photo by Richard Frederickson, staff photographer
Kaylee Towey (center) with Frank Blanchard (left) and fellow WHK intern Julianne Heberlein (right) presenting a poster at Student Poster Day.

Kaylee Towey (center) with Frank Blanchard (left) and fellow WHK intern Julianne Heberlein (right) presenting a poster at Student Poster Day.

Former Werner H. Kirsten (WHK) intern Kaylee Towey spent her most recent college semester drafting policy proposals to solve education issues in Prince George’s County. It was part of a semester-long project for the Public Leadership Scholars Program, an extracurricular activity she fits into her busy schedule as a student at University of Maryland, College Park.

The leadership program comprises a fundraising team, grant writing group, and the public policy group of which Towey was a part. At the end of the semester, the grants were issued and the policy was pitched to a board, and all the money raised was donated to nonprofit organizations in the community to help make a difference.

“I was really excited to be a part of this and work to make a positive impact,” Towey said.

Towey is currently double-majoring in business, with a focus on finance, and communications, with a focus on public relations.

“I’ve been focusing on covering all of my prerequisites so my options are open for whichever track I choose,” she said.

This past summer, she also worked as a marketing assistant for Carpe Diem Arts, a small nonprofit in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“I’ve learned more about how nonprofits function, as well as about effective outreach methods,” Towey said. 

She recently returned to Carpe Diem Arts, and she is currently looking for a financial relations position for the summer so that she can continue to gain experience in a variety of her interests.

A Strong Foundation for Future Endeavors

Through the WHK program, Towey interned with Frank Blanchard, director of Frederick National Laboratory’s Public Affairs and Communications Office, from June 2016 through June 2017. She then stayed until August 2017 as part of the Summer Internship Program.

During her internship, she wrote articles for the Poster and Insite websites on topics such as HPV, HIV and AIDS, and the CANDLE project; features on volunteer work, scientists, and fellow interns; and informational pieces for the Double Our Reach donation campaign.

Towey also helped with events such as In The Street, Take Your Child to Work Day, and the Chamber of Commerce Expo, and she presented a poster at Student Poster Day.

One of her favorite projects was working on the CANDLE article: “[It was] fascinating to learn about the technology being developed. While I learned something new from every science piece I worked on, to learn firsthand about the cutting-edge technology was a unique experience,” she said.

Her biggest accomplishment, however, was her article on a protein grown in genetically modified soya beans. The project—the result of collaboration between the NCI Molecular Targets Laboratory, the Frederick National Laboratory, and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation—aimed to present a scalable, low-cost method for producing microbicides that prevent AIDS in resource-poor countries.

“It was exciting for me to know that I wrote something important,” she said, having later found out that the article was useful for a lab and helped kickstart a nomination for a research award.

Interning in Public Affairs also exposed her to the work being done by Scientific Publications, Graphics and Media (SPGM) and the Office of Scientific Operations (OSO).

Working with SPGM improved her writing skills and knowledge of the Associated Press writing style and introduced her to the department’s photography and imaging work, while working with OSO taught her about their educational outreach programs.

Of the WHK program, Towey said, “It has been great to have the opportunity to learn about and experience these various scopes of the communications field, and every experience has reinforced the value of participating in the WHK program, as the skills I learned as a WHK intern have applied and given me a leg up in all my other communication endeavors.”