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Students Learn About Science Advocacy Firsthand in Washington, DC

Case workshop
William Tunney and Sandhiya in Washington, DC
William Tunney and Sandhiya Kannan in Washington, DC.

Stony Brook University students Sandhiya Kannan and William Tunney participated in the Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) program that took place in Washington, DC, April 2 through April 5. The program was hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The CASE program is designed for upper-class undergraduate and graduate students in science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines who want to learn more about the role of science in policy-making. It is meant to empower them with ways to become a voice for basic research throughout their careers.

“The AAAS CASE Workshop was an amazing opportunity to learn about science policy and how to advocate for funding of scientific research firsthand from experts like Congress specialist Judy Schneider and Representative Bill Foster, who is a PhD physicist,” said Kannan, a senior studying chemical and molecular engineering with minors in astronomy and nanotechnology. “It was also great to meet other students from across the country and discuss how we can do our parts as scientists and engineers to communicate and engage with the public about science.

In various lectures and interactive workshops, students examined the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations process, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement. Speakers from organizations such as the AAAS, Association of American Universities, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, US Geological Survey, as well as Congressional staff members.

“Attending the CASE workshop was a great learning experience,” said Tunney, a junior enrolled in Stony Brook’s five-year mechanical engineering accelerated master’s program. “I now have an understanding of how the federal budget affects scientific research along with how we, as students, can affect funding distribution and allocation.”

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