Everyone who works for advocacy is full of passion. The Advocacy Reception is finishing, the food is taken away, and the tables are being taken down, but there are still presenters staying to tell me about their amazing groups. I was so grateful for all those who stayed to tell me about their amazing efforts to fight for policies that support science.
I had the opportunity to meet an incredible woman, Cecilia Fox from Moravian College in Pennsylvania. She told me about her amazing work getting students to be involved in advocacy. They have pre-written emails at all their events, tables in buildings on advocacy day, and find ways to tie advocacy to Liberal Arts through social justice or brain genders. Dr. Fox said “It’s a great life.” Her hard work even led to their local representative, Congressmen Charles Dent, to have an honorary degree from Moravian.
Similar to Dr. Fox’s work, Ryan Makinson has been working with Cincinnati’s representatives for several years, meeting them in their DC office and taking them on tours in labs at the University of Cincinnati. He even met with Representative Ted Budd at SfN! If you are interested in meeting with a Congressmen about science Advocacy Ryan suggests calling their home district first to sit down and meet with a staffer. Those connections can lead far.
I even got to meet an old friend, Dr. Dan Pham who has expanded his work from Project Bridge at John Hopkins in Baltimore, to Project Bridge Colorado! Erin Golden started Project Bridge at Colorado to help build relations with state lobbiests and government officials. This past year they held a “Gong Show” for post docs at a local brewery. Each audience member was given a kazoo and interrupted anyone who used jargon.
This work and more is helping to transform our country. In a world full of “fake news”, “alternative facts”, and more, it is important for scientists to be involved with the public. If you are interested in adovocacy there are so many avenues to help you! Email Adam Katz at SfN, visit Erin Golen at Facebook.com/ProjBridgeCo, or check out the Science Alliance at www.thesciencealliance.org.
Keep up all the hard work! And comment with any stories of your own! I’d love to hear about events across the country!