Science Day at the Arizona Capitol

Science Day at the Arizona Capitol

January 31, 2019

  • ASU students escalate the importance of linking science to state policymaking during Science Day at the Arizona Capitol. 


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January 31, 2019

Some 65 students and scientists from Arizona State University are expected to converge in Phoenix on Tuesday, Feb. 5 for the first-ever Science Day at the Arizona Capitol. This event is the brainchild of the Arizona Science Policy Network, a group of ASU students who are especially interested in opening lines of communication between scientists and government leaders.

“Our event will be a success if we can ignite a long-term relationship with the state’s policymakers”, said Caitlyn Hall, one of the three founding members of the Network. “We were motivated to organize when we learned that early career scientists seemed to have very little  interaction with policymakers and policy outcomes.”

A primary concern of the student group is improving the ways that we conserve and reuse water in Arizona.

The day begins at 8 a.m. with a breakfast meet and greet in Senate Caucus Room 1. ASU Student scientists and engineers will share information about the latest innovations in water sustainability, with a special focus on important issues facing our state like plastic contamination in our water sources. During the next session, policymakers will share ideas on how student scientists can best be involved and engaged contributors to influencing policy and legislation. There will also be a workshop to for students to practice and learn effective means of advocacy in bringing their concerns and interests to government leaders. At 1:30, a proclamation recognizing Science Day will be read on the senate floor by Senator Juan Mendez.

“We are encouraged by the large response we’ve received from international students,” said Hall. “This is evidence of the global importance and impact of U.S. science policy.”

This science advocacy group encourages face-to-face interaction as a mechanism to integrate more scientists and science-based data into the policymaking process. However, the goals is not solely to introduce policymakers to science but also alternatively expose scientists to the complexities that lie within policy decisions.

Caitlyn stresses that the Arizona Science Policy Network is in it for the long-run.

“We want to  ensure that future policies are based on sound information from scientists,” she said, “and that policymakers know where to turn when they are faced with complex decisions like protecting our precious Arizona water resources.”

The founding members are all associated with ASU Biodesign, including Hall, a PhD Candidate for environmental engineering, Ethan Howley, PhD Candidate for environmental engineering; and Cassandra Barrett, PhD Candidate in biological design. The group has since steadily grown in number and now has about 25 members. The organization seeks to act as a catalyst between early-career scientists and those individuals that make policy.

The Network encourages others to participate in Science Day at the Arizona Capitol. No experience is necessary, but those interested must register at bit.ly/azsciday19

For more information and a schedule of events: bit.ly/azsciday19info   Group leaders encourage those interested in science and policy to follow them on Twitter at @azscipolnet.

 

 

Written by: Christine Lewis