Since 2008, the goal of the Career Development Program (CDP) at the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Center of Excellence, has been to provide a graduate-level fellowship program that promotes workforce development into public service or academia.
Jolene Carlson, DVM, Ph.D., a 2011 fellow of the Program, has recently accepted a postdoctoral research position within the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute’s diagnostic virology section, located on the Isle of Riems in Greifswald, Germany.
Through her new position, Carlson has the opportunity to be involved in infectious disease research, contributing to projects researching African swine fever virus, classical swine fever virus (CSFV) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, in addition to mentoring Ph.D. students at the laboratory.
Carlson said she credits the Program with confirming her research interests – particularly through the required 10-week internship in a homeland security field. In 2015, Jolene interned at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Greenport, New York. There, she had the opportunity to work on a project that assessed and compared mutant and virulent strains of CSFV.
“This Program confirmed my long-term aspirations of working with viral diseases of livestock that have a global economic impact,” Carlson said. “After working in different labs during my bachelor’s degree and then completing a year-long [Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education] fellowship on foot and mouth disease virus, I decided to enter veterinary school and pursue a career working with foreign animal diseases. I liked the idea of working with a team of people that could make an impact globally in lives of animals and the people who rely on these animals for food. The journey has been long but rewarding with all the people I have met along the way.”
She encourages students to apply to the CDP because of the connections they can forge and the experiences they can gain with different laboratories and projects.
“IIAD has a supportive team of people who want to see their students succeed,” Carlson said. “It is a great program to be a part of and a wonderful opportunity to meet scientists in many different fields.”
Carlson said that she is enjoying the mixture of laboratory work that her new position provides and hopes that her career continues to propel her down a path of working with international groups, researching viral diseases and mentoring aspiring scientists.
Jolene received her Ph.D. from the department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science in pathobiology from the University of Connecticut.
The Career Development Program places emphasis on building future workforce capacity in fields related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics that also support the DHS mission space in transboundary, emerging and zoonotic disease defense. The Program is made possible through funding awarded to the Institute through the DHS Office of University Programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture National Needs Fellowship.