Communication and Advocacy Training

Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering: 2020 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 2020 CASE Workshop will take place March 29 – April 1.  

The workshop, sponsored by a coalition of scientific groups including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is organized to educate STEM graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in learning about the role of science in policy-making, to introduce them to the federal policy-making process, and to empower them with ways to become a voice for basic research throughout their careers. The entry-level workshop is designed for students in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, with limited experience and knowledge of science policy and advocacy who want to learn more about science policy.

Students will participate in a three-and-a-half day program in Washington, D.C. Participants will learn about the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations processes, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement. In addition, students will participate in interactive seminars about policy-making and communication. On the last day of the program, students will have the option to form teams and conduct meetings with their elected Members of Congress and congressional staff.

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.

2020 Timeline

  • January 7, 2020 – Application opens
  • February 9, 2020 – Application deadline
  • March 29 – April 1, 2020 – CASE Workshop

The workshop was absolutely phenomenal. AAAS brought in people from all over D.C., multiple agencies, and Capitol Hill to provide a solid introduction to the science policy process. The unique opportunity to be with bright STEM graduate students from across the U.S. to network, share research, and talk about future collaborations was very special. And, the experience of meeting with Wisconsin members on the Hill with the UW Federal Relations department was an excellent learning experience (and very fun!). CASE is hands down a highlight of my grad school career, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I learned so much that will be beneficial for my future pursuits, and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Sarah Alexander, 2019 CASE attendee, PhD Student in Civil and Environmental Engineering

The following two graduate students were selected to attend the CASE workshop in 2019.

Rashaun WilliamsRashaun Williams

PhD Student in Nutritional Sciences, Dawn B. Davis lab

Rashaun is a 2nd-year PhD student in Nutritional Sciences, researching beta-cell biology. His specialization is identifying novel pathways and therapeutic targets critical in the preservation of beta-cell mass and protection.

“Most communication, whether in articles or during conferences, are filled with scientific jargon that is difficult to understand even between scientists in other fields,” he says. “Scientists need to be able to communicate in a way that could be easily understood while still garnering interest for the topic so that our ideas can be taken into consideration when deliberations for important policies are being discussed.”

Sarah AlexanderSarah Alexander

PhD Student in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Sarah is a 3rd-year PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, studying how variabilities in climate negatively impact vulnerable communities worldwide. Her research focuses on the development, communication, and integration of season-ahead precipitation predictions in Ethiopia to enhance food and water security in the region.

“Scientists are uniquely poised to provide expertise to inform decision-making for positive impact worldwide,” she says. “Yet, it is imperative that scientists are equipped with an understanding of the policy, advocacy process to effectively support, argue for the integration of scientific knowledge into laws and policy decisions.”