Doctoral students to engage in national advocacy and science communication workshop

The Graduate School has selected two UW–Madison graduate students to participate in the Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop in Washington D.C., April 14-17, 2024. Sponsored by a coalition of scientific groups including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the workshop is an opportunity for students to learn from science policy and advocacy experts about the role of science in policymaking and the federal policy-making process. The experience empowers participants to become a voice for basic research throughout their careers.

The two graduate students selected to attend the CASE 2024 workshop are:

Seth Anderson, in a black shirt and clear eyeglasses, poses for a portrait in front of a tan brick indoor wall.Seth Anderson

PhD Candidate, Chemical Engineering

Seth Anderson is a third-year graduate student studying the impact of electrolyte composition on electrocatalytic reactions. He values balance in his professional and personal lives and is generally interested in learning about topics outside his own field from sports statistics to modern history and world events. Seth is passionate about Legos, live music, eating good, and hanging out with friends and family.

Seth grew up in Middle Tennessee and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he studied chemical engineering and developed a love for Appalachian culture, SEC sports, the Smokies, and research. He received his bachelor of science degree in 2019 and shortly thereafter went to work in a lab performing RT-PCR tests and investigating advanced high-speed testing methods for COVID. Working in that environment was enlightening and enhanced Seth’s interest in research, so he decided to pursue a PhD and continue developing his skills. He has been at UW–Madison since 2021 and says he is “really starting to dig the Midwest.”

Samantha Helle, wearing a black shirt, jeans, and blue cap, smiles in front of a body of water, below a clear blue sky.

Samantha Helle

PhD Candidate, Environment and Resources

Sam Helle is a conservation biologist and PhD candidate in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Since 2014, she has been conducting research in Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape on biological and social aspects of tiger conservation, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, and community-based conservation initiatives. Sam’s work with Nepal’s National Trust for Nature Conservation has been supported by a Fulbright U.S. Scholarship (2019) and Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award (2022). Her research uses both biological and social-science methodologies to create realistic and contextual tiger conservation plans in the complex social-ecological systems that both tigers and humans reside in.

Sam is an avid science communicator; her work has been featured on podcasts and news outlets, including BBC Radio, where she has discussed her research on a worldwide stage. Recently, she authored a children’s book, Young Zoologist, Tiger: A First Field Guide to the Big Cat with Stripes, aiming to inspire the next generation of conservationists.