published March 1, 2007

SENCER E-Newsletter, March 2006, Volume 6, Issue 6

Rice Students Bring Perspectives on Science Issues to Elected Officials

This May, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN), takes another step in engaging their students in experiential learning in the science education by offering a select group of students the opportunity to participate in a two-day Civic Scientist Educational Tour to Washington, DC.

Kristen Kulinowski

The educational tour, scheduled for May 1-2, will be led by Kristen Kulinowski, faculty fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University, director of CBEN, and author of both a SENCER model and backgrounder on nanotechnology. The event is a complement to a spring training program offered by CBEN that provides an introduction to current science issues in Congress, congressional procedure, and the politics of science. Speakers in the seminar series include a former Presidential Science Advisor, the assistant director for public policy at the American Chemical Society, and the director of the budget and policy program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Students who successfully complete this program of seminars and coursework will be eligible to participate in congressional visits with elected officials and bureaucrats to engage in discussions on how government decision making affects their work as scientists.

While on the tour, participants will learn about the interaction between government policy and science, and how to inform government officials about the importance and relevance of scientific research to the economic strength, security, health and well-being of the United States. They will also have the opportunity to meet with elected officials or bureaucrats, and consult with them on issues that affect the economic well-being, security, and health of the country. Following their visit to DC, students will disseminate results of their experiences to fellow classmates through a post-trip debrief and informational session. They will also develop a website and complete a report on their key learnings from the event.

Please be sure to read upcoming issues of the e-newsletter for a follow-up to this article, complete with highlights and achievements of the Civic Scientist Educational Tour. For more information on the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, visit their website at CBEN

Kristen was kind enough to share her expertise on these matters with our NCSCE Capitol Hill Symposium participants during an informal teleconference, during which she answered questions about how to best prepare for meetings with elected officials and staff members.