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Cornell University


Tuesday, April 04, 2017
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Forum

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of establishing connections and networking as early as possible during your career training. Attending events which will expose you to fields you are considering as possible career opportunities is a great way to start. BESTies Kasey Schalich, and Cassandra Orndorff, Animal Science, received BEST funds to attend the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington D.C. on March 27-28 to learn about science policy and make connections. See what they have to say about their experience:

The AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy was my first exposure to an international level conversation about science and technology policy. The event drew a diverse group of individuals involved in the policy making process, including government, academic and industry scientists, lawyers, politicians, government employees, representatives from the EU and non-profits, and other graduate students. The conference provided a platform for discussing a wide-range of pertinent topics. The first day was devoted to discussing the current state of the federal budget as related to funding scientific research and the most pressing topics in science policy (gene editing, climate change and the opioid epidemic in America). The second day featured representatives from nonprofit groups that exist to serve local, state and federal government agencies with help in integrating scientific data into policies. In addition, the president of the newly created Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) came to speak about the philanthropy's goals and vision for scientific research. Seminars about scientific integrity and communication were also offered as a means to highlight the importance of ethical scientific conduct and engagement with the public. I am very grateful for the BEST program's financial support that allowed me to attend this conference, and I highly recommend it to other graduate students interested in learning more about science policy.-Kasey Schalich

The AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy gave me the opportunity to connect with other graduate students from across the country, as well as network and hear from all kinds of professionals. From professors and scientists to senators, judges, and the director of the NIH, Francis Collins, there was a wide range of people in attendance. The first day was spent learning more about the current budget proposals for science and addressing some of the current hot topics (climate change, gene editing, and opioids). Then, the second day focused more on the free services offered by non-governmental organizations to the local, state, and federal governments. These services are meant to aid government officials in making more informed decisions on policies by consulting scientific literature, called “evidence-based policymaking. Overall, it was a really great experience; I made some great connections and I learned a lot about current issues in science policy. I would definitely be interested in going back next year!-Cassandra Orndorff