University of Wisconsin–Madison

Communication and Advocacy Training

Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering: 2018 Workshop

Each year 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.  The tentative dates for the 2019 CASE Workshop are March 24-27, 2019.  

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.


  • January 8, 2019 – Application opens
  • February 10, 2019 – Application deadline
  • March 24-27, 2019 – CASE Workshop (tentative dates)


The following two graduate students were selected to attend the CASE workshop in 2018.

Catherine SteffelCatherine Steffel

PhD Candidate in Medical Physics, Member of the Mitchell & Varghese Labs

Catherine is a third year PhD candidate in the Department of Medical Physics. Her research uses medical imaging and signal processing techniques to identify atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid arteries that may cause a stroke.

“Armed with specialized knowledge, scientists have equal potential to offend or enlighten, disconcert or inspire,” Steffel says. “The CASE workshop will help me shape my messages and research for maximum impact.”

Jeremy SpoolJeremy Spool

PhD Candidate in Zoology, Department of Integrative Biology

Jeremy is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Zoology. He conducts research on the neural mechanisms by which limited environmental resources fine-tune the timing of breeding in birds.

“Scientists with effective communication skills versed in science policy are uniquely positioned to highlight how basic research translates to unexpected discoveries that impact human health, technology, and legislation,” states Spool.