Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering: 2017 Workshop

Each April the Graduate School sends two University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate students to learn about science policy and advocacy at the Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop in Washington D.C.  This year's workshop was April 2-5, 2017.  The workshop, sponsored by a coalition of scientific groups including the AAAS and AAU, teaches STEM graduate and upper-class undergraduates about the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations process, and tools for effective science communication.

Students participate in interactive seminars for both policy-making and communication. They learn about ways to stay engaged and involved after they return to their campuses, through relevant professional societies or on-campus activities. The day after the culmination of the workshop, students form teams and conduct meetings with their elected Members of Congress and congressional staff members, putting into practice what they’ve learned.

Read more about the workshop here.

The Graduate School hosts a competitive process to select the two UW-Madison graduate students to attend the CASE workshop and covers the cost of travel, accommodations, meals, and event registration for the graduate students selected to attend.  The UW-Madison Office of Federal Relations arranges Capitol Hill visits for the selected students, where they meet with Wisconsin congressional staff.

The following two graduate students were selected to attend the CASE workshop in 2017.

Holly Cho

Ph.D. Candidate in Cellular and Molecular Biology, member of the Sharma Lab

Holly studies evolutionary-developmental biology, trying to understand how developmental processes can shape or constrain the course of evolutionary history. As part of her research, she works with the embryos of non-model arthropod species such as spiders, scorpions, crickets, and centipedes.

“The work of a scientist gains meaning if it can descend from the ivory tower to elevate those on the ground level,” according to Cho. “This is the core tenet of the Wisconsin Idea, the beating heart of our public education system.” The CASE workshop relates directly to her public policy career aspirations as it offers “an ideal opportunity to learn about the mechanisms of government that keep scientists funded, and to observe how the intersection of science and politics shapes policy.”

Matthew Stilwell

Ph.D. Candidate in Biophysics, member of the Weibel Lab

Matthew studies bacterial cell division, microbial symbiosis, and develops low-cost, easily accessible science activities for middle and high school classrooms.

Stilwell believes that “science has the potential to bring people together through the marvels and wonders it brings. The National Science Board’s annual report states that a ‘majority of Americans continue to see substantially more benefits than harms from science, have relatively high levels of confidence in the scientific community, and would like to see science supported.’1 I want to learn how to leverage these strengths and communicate science in a way that is clear, understandable, and appreciable by a broad audience.”

1 NSF Science & Engineering Indicators 2016

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