Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop
The AAAS held a free, virtual CASE workshop on September 23-24, 2021, and may offer the same in fall 2022. Those interested in participating can check back at this webpage or watch the GradConnections Weekly newsletter for more information.
The Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop is an opportunity for STEM undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to learn from science policy and advocacy experts about the role of science in policymaking and the federal policy-making process. The workshop empowers participants with ways to become a voice for basic research throughout their careers.
Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering Workshop in Washington, D.C.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, each year the Graduate School sent two University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate students to learn about science policy and advocacy at the CASE workshop in Washington D.C. The Graduate School hosted a competitive process to select the two UW–Madison graduate students to attend the CASE workshop and covered the cost of travel, accommodations, meals, and event registration for the graduate students selected to attend.
The workshop, sponsored by a coalition of scientific groups including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), was 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 was 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 participated in a three-and-a-half day program in Washington, D.C. Participants learned 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 participated in interactive seminars about policy-making and communication. On the last day of the program, students had the option to form teams and conduct meetings with their elected Members of Congress and congressional staff.
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 2020.
PhD candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Beau is a PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW–Madison. He is a research assistant in the Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Lab and has previous experience as a teaching assistant and lab instructor. Beau is involved in several committees in the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, is treasurer for the Institute of Transportation Engineers UW-Madison chapter, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Beau said that policy is the bridge between research and the impact it can have on the world. He added that attending the CASE workshop will help him become a better advocate for transportation policies.
“We, as emerging scientists in STEM fields, need to become effective advocates for our research in the policy-making process and actively communicate our research results to lawmakers and the general public,” he said. “My research in transportation engineering aims to save lives through safer roads with fewer and less severe crashes. However, without policy to implement our findings, our research efforts would never be realized.”
Neydis Moreno Morales
PhD student, Biophysics
Neydis is a PhD student in Biophysics at UW–Madison and a member of the SciMed Graduate Research Scholars community. She is currently a research assistant in the McClean Lab. In her time as a graduate student so far, Neydis has volunteered as a research mentor, at science festivals, as a panelist for visiting prospective students, and as a tour guide for high school and undergraduate students visiting the lab.
Neydis said service is an important part of her scientific identity.
“I’ve participated in scientific outreach, mentoring and teaching because it supports my sense of belonging and purpose in science. As I near the end of my PhD studies I’m recognizing my responsibility to participate in the scientific policy process,” she said. “The individuals involved in a movement matters. Each person brings their expertise and life experiences to the table. My identities as a first generation, bilingual, Latina STEM scientist makes me a particularly powerful ally both to science and the public.”