Some quick FAQs about this blog to start things off:
What is the purpose of this blog?
This blog will be used to keep the SJSU community updated on issues related to science policy, including information about relevant legislation and tips for how you could get involved in advocacy if you wish. Hopefully reading this blog will serve as an easy way for you to stay informed on science policy without taking too much time out of your busy day (or adding more emails into your already clogged inbox).
Who is writing this blog?
For now, Katie Wilkinson an Assistant Professor of Biological Science and 2014 Society for Neuroscience Early Career Policy Fellow will be updating the blog. If you would like to share your experiences in advocacy, inform the SJSU community about pending legislation, or in any other way contribute as a guest or co-blogger please contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did you decide to write this blog?
Like many people I often find myself exasperated at some of the decisions made in Washington–obviously funding science is worthwhile and our policies should be informed by science! Just assuming that legislators should know this is not really fair, though. Part of their job is to listen to what their constituents have to say and part of our job is to keep them informed. When the sequester slashed the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program budget at SJSU by over 50%, I called my elected officials (as did a few MARC students). Surprisingly (to me) the aide I spoke to at Representative Honda’s office was very interested in the issue and wanted to set up a time for Rep. Honda to come to SJSU and meet with students in the MARC program (a future blog post will discuss this visit, but for now you can learn more here). As a Biology Department alumnus and former science teacher, Rep. Honda didn’t need too much convincing that the MARC program was important. I wish I could say that after that meeting the cuts were restored, but of course that is not how things work. This experience did cause me to want to learn more about how to advocate for things like increased science funding and I decided to apply for SfN’s Early Career Policy Fellowship. As a fellow I have received training in the legislative process and advocacy. I also participated in SfN’s Hill Day this March. For the rest of the year I have been tasked with helping to educate my colleagues about science policy and advocacy, which is why I have started this blog.
Where can I find information about issues relevant to my particular discipline?
Some of the information I post will be pertinent to all fields of science, but since my research is biomedical that area will get a disproportionate share of the attention. If you want to keep up to date with issues more directly related to your field of study most professional societies have advocacy action sites, advocacy newsletters and probably host Hill Days and/or fellowships similar to the one that I did with the SfN. For example, I subscribe to both SfN and the American Physiological Society’s email blasts.