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Four Purdue students traveled in late March 2018 to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2018 Catalyzing Advocacy for Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop.

Elizabeth Reinhart (left), Emma Brown, and Caleb Hettinger, undergraduate students from the College of Science, and Clayton Nevins (right), a graduate student in the College of Agriculture, attended the three-and-a-half day workshop hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The workshop was an entry-level program that introduced upper-class undergraduates and graduate students to the role that science plays in the federal policy-making process.

“The workshop was a fantastic introduction to science policy,” said Reinhart. “It illuminated many intersections, including how different agencies interact with administration, science lobbying, and how congressional chairs are picked.”

While participating in the workshop, students were provided with the opportunity to engage in interactive seminars about policy-making and communication and conduct meetings with their elected Members of Congress.

“We learned a great deal about science advocacy and how that looks within our government,” said Hettinger. “We were also able to meet Senator Joe Donnelly and hear from several different Members of Congress, including Representative Bill Foster of Illinois and former Representative Rush Holt Jr. of New Jersey.”

The workshop also aimed to provide its participants with the tools to become a voice for research throughout their careers.

“I learned how I can use my knowledge of research, science, and communication to make a difference in research funding,” said Hettinger. “The conference was also great for making connections with other individuals who are interested in and passionate about science advocacy.”

“Learning through in-depth seminars better prepared me to de-fog the bridge between science and policy,” said Reinhart. “As someone who is looking to work on diseases in developing countries, my future relies on government funding, scientific laws, and agencies within the executive branch. All in all, the workshop gave me the resources to become a better civil servant and better prepared me for my future.”

The Office of Undergraduate Research, College of Science’s Learning Beyond the Classroom Certificate Program, Parent & Family Advisory Board, and the Provost Office supported the students’ registration, travels, and housing to attend the event.

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