A common thread throughout the Richmond community is the desire to push boundaries — and in this case, we mean physically crossing them, too. Biology professor Peter Smallwood just became the first Spider to receive a Jefferson Science Fellowship, issued from the U.S. Agency for International Development, for exploring ways to safely gather scientific information in dangerous conflict zones.

Smallwood has been at UR since 1997 and is no stranger to science policy and diplomacy. He spent a year working for the Department of State in Iraq and 18 months running the Wildlife Conservation Society project in Afghanistan. His new one-year fellowship will enable him to work with USAID missions in areas with poor security or non-permissive environments where government forces do not have effective control.

“Travel within conflict zones, such as South Sudan or Afghanistan, is difficult, making it hard to observe and analyze the work being done,” Smallwood said. “I’ll look for ways for USAID personnel to get the data they need in order to adequately monitor and evaluate projects while minimizing their risks.”

Since 2003, the Jefferson Science Fellowship Program has built capacity for science, technology and engineering expertise within the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. We are so proud of Dr. Smallwood and know his contributions will be valuable!

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