Last month, SSE funded 4 members to attend the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Congressional Visits Day and the AIBS Communications Bootcamp in Washington, DC. The event included an advocacy-training program and congressional meetings with elected officials. Continue reading to hear from participants about their experiences.
“Attending the AIBS congressional visit day was an eye-opening experience for me. I went to capitol hill and spoke with both of my senators and my local house representative about the importance of funding fundamental research from agencies like NSF. In speaking to them, I was struck by how much members from both parties listened to us and expressed concern and support for science funding. AIBS did a wonderful job of preparing us for these meetings and giving us the tools more scientists need to effectively communicate the importance of research to policymakers. The funding I received from SSE to attend this workshop was indispensable in allowing me to attend, and the experience has encouraged me to continue to be involved in science policy. My biggest takeaway from the visit was that scientists can make a difference in policy-making, and opportunities like this are a great way to get more scientists involved.” - Jeremy Davis
“In April I was fortunate enough to have SSE fund my attendance at The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Congressional Visits Day. This 3-day event was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about science communication, science policy, and meet with my Congressional Representatives and their staff. The first two days were spent at the AIBS Science Communication Bootcamp where we honed our messages about why National Science Foundation funding is essential for our research, practiced media interviews and learned tips on how to best communicate science. On the last day, we split into teams and met with Senators, Representatives, and their staff to ask them to support funding NSF at $8.45 billion. It was exciting and empowering to share my experiences on the importance of science funding with those who are responsible for funding NSF. You can follow Congressional Visits Day on Twitter at #SSEdoesPolicy and #AIBScvd2018.” - Elizabeth Carlen
“Delving into the realm of policy can be a difficult endeavor for scientists, and there are limited opportunities for guidance or training. Recently, the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) started providing training and support for members who are interested in learning more about science policy. Over the last few months, I participated in the SSE Science Policy webinar series (organized by the SSE Public Policy Committee and led by Dr. Otto) and the American Institute of Biological Sciences Communications Training Program and Congressional Visits Day in Washington, DC. Both programs provided me with a strong foundation on effective communication with policy makers at the local, state and national level, and with strategies to discuss important, and timely, scientific issues. With support from SSE, I travelled to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and their staff, to discuss the importance of science funding at the national level.” - Matthew Rubin