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Attending the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering Workshop

Alternatively titled: why every PhD student should attend this workshop or at least learn about how science gets made, from a federal budget perspective.

Attending this workshop was really incredibly- we learned a lot, heard from some incredible speakers, practiced the skills of talking about science advocacy, like how to actually talk to your representative, and then actually DID THAT THING. I wrote a reflection about attending this workshop for my department, which can be found here.

I have a short pitch, to my fellow scientists and engineers: this is an unprecedented opportunity. Your staffers and representatives, they want to hear from you. Call them, visit them in their home office (or in DC!), write an op-ed and send it to them. Form a relationship with them- if they know that you care, they will know that they can trust you.

Of course, if you want to do more, there are many trainings, workshops, webinars, and fellowships, not to mention local policy and advocacy groups where you can learn more about science policy. If you’re thinking even longer term, you might even to consider becoming a staffer or running for office yourself, or serving as an on-call scientist by communicating your science to congressional committees or journalists (like through SciLine).

These actions are concrete, they are real, and they matter.

Fortunately for us, advocating for science can be easy.: without a doubt, science has made life as we know it better. As a cherry on top, studies show that Americans support science as well as increasing government funding for science.

Hopefully these newly trained 170+ scientists who attending this workshop will lead the way in serving as a resource to our government officials and being loud voices advocating for science. I know I will be.

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