early career scientists


The Science Policy Initiative at Notre Dame.

Supporting Science Policy Advocacy and Outreach through Microgrants

Michaela Rikard, Ph.D. candidate, , UCS

The National Science Policy Network (NSPN) unites groups of early career scientists and engineers nationwide who want to elevate the voice of scientific evidence in policy. We champion the value of science and evidence-based decision-making and believe it is critical for scientists and engineers to step outside of the research lab and communicate the importance diverse perspectives in the policy process to the rest of the scientific community, policy makers, and the general public. Read more >

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The Sociopolitical Evolution of a Scientist: Incorporating Advocacy into My Graduate School Experience

Alex Hruska, , UCS

During September of 2016, I was excited to begin my bioengineering master’s program in Boston, home to the world’s largest community of biomedical researchers. But on November 8th, the US political landscape abruptly transformed, and suddenly my research studying how cancer spreads throughout the body felt microscopic. The aftermath of the 2016 election forced me to examine my identity; I saw how the wave of anti-LGBT rhetoric and violence left my community feeling unsafe. Raised by a family of immigrants, I saw my lab mate barred from entering the country after visiting her family in Iran. And as a scientist, I saw how the spread of misinformation caused public distrust in science, permeating our highest levels of government. Read more >

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Uniting Young Scientists: Building a National Network for Grassroots Science Policy

Holly Mayton, , UCS

According to a 2014 study by the American Institutes for Research, less than half of STEM Ph.D. graduates are employed in academic careers. Unfortunately, by nature of pursuing our degrees in academia it is difficult to identify mentors, expand networks, or practice skills for a non-academic career during graduate school. This challenge has been recognized by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) in their recent report, which calls for a broad range of changes in the graduate education enterprise to make the system more student-centric and better prepare students for careers that address global societal needs. Read more >

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Science on Wheels: Meeting a Scientist Right in Your Hometown

Arianna Soldati, Ph.D. Candidate, , UCS

I moved to Columbia, Missouri, home of the University of Missouri (Mizzou), five years ago, and I was impressed with the amount of science engagement activities available to the public. Any time of any day of the week there appeared to be something going on: Saturday Morning Science, Science Café on Monday nights, and Science on Tap on Tuesday evenings. An incredible variety of settings to pick and choose from, from auditoriums to cafés to breweries. Topics to satisfy all interests, from chemistry to astronomy to biology. Professors, grad students, undergrads—they were all involved in outreach. I couldn’t believe what a big role science played in the state. Read more >

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