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Advocacy Corps Students Meet with Congressional Members and Staff in D.C.

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Stony Brook University’s (SBU) Advocacy Corps students recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) 2023 Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop. During the workshop, students learned from science policy and advocacy experts about the role of science in policymaking and the federal policy-making process. Following several days of interactive seminars about policymaking, communicating science and civic engagement, the students visited Capitol Hill to advocate for critical federal funding increases for science research. The students met with Congressman Nick LaLota in addition to staff representatives for U.S. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Advocacy corps students with lalota“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the CASE conference on behalf of Stony Brook University and meet with our local representative, Congressman Nick LaLota, on the steps of the Capitol,” said Julia Brandenstein, a Stony Brook graduate student studying public policy analysis. “This unique experience provided me with tremendous insight into life on the Hill and supplemented the lessons I’ve learned as a member of Advocacy Corps.”

In addition to their visit to D.C., Advocacy Corps students met virtually earlier this spring with Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Senior Higher Education Staffer Judith Teruya. During the meeting, Advocacy Corps member Anastasia Poulos thanked Congresswoman Meng for supporting robust increases for science research and student financial aid in addition to her leadership on national Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.

“We are so inspired by the congresswoman’s commitment to national Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts by leading initiatives for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the House Bipartisan Taskforce for Combatting Antisemitism, and as a Vice-Chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus,” said Poulos, a Stony Brook undergraduate student double majoring in political science and journalism. “We would like to ask the Congresswoman to continue her fight to Double the Pell and increase funding for student financial aid across the board in addition to increasing funding for science research in FY24 appropriations.”

Congresswoman Meng is the first and only Asian American member of Congress from New York State, and the first female Congressmember from Queens since former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rep. Meng serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where she is New York’s senior member.

SBU’s Office of Federal Relations coordinates all of the student advocacy meetings and manages Advocacy Corps, a program that develops select students into effective federal policy advocates.


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