Student science policy group hosts Leslie Danks Burke for roundtable discussion
On Thursday, 30 March 2017, Cornell’s graduate-student-run group Advancing Science and Policy (ASAP) hosted a round table discussion with local politician Leslie Danks Burke. At the discussion Burke shared her career trajectory including her experience running for senate and the recently-launched Trailblazers PAC organization with a nonpartisan mission for local action. The event was part of an unprecedented project called "Take a Politician to Work Day," an effort led by BME Ph.D. student Leah Pagnozzi to get local and state politicians and their staff involved in science and research at Cornell. Through this project, staffers and policy makers have the opportunity to take customized lab tours at Cornell to learn more about the cutting-edge research being done on campus. Afterward, students and politician/staffers sit down to a roundtable lunch to have informal conversations on the future of science in public policy. Unfortunately, due to schedule limitations, Ms. Burke was unable to tour any labs, but during the roundtable discussion she offered her views and insights on science policy and the impact ASAP members could have in Ithaca. On April 12th, ASAP will host the Mayor of Ithaca, Svante L. Myrick, who will be the first person to partake in a tailored lab tour.
ASAP is a graduate-student group dedicated to training STEM researchers and graduate students to share the value and significance of their work with policy makers. Members develop skills and professional networks through regular workshops, faculty chats, and invited speakers. Members learn to communicate with policy makers and the general public about the role of scientific input in advancing policy and society. They support writing initiatives, organize trips to DC or Albany, meet with policy makers, and advocate for issues of interest. Meinig School associate professor Chris Schaffer, who has worked as a science policy advisor in the United States Congress, is a faculty advisor to the group.
Leslie Danks Burke has been a candidate for state senate, is a trustee for Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3), and a founding member of the Democratic Women of the Southern Tier.