Meinig School Ph.D. student advocates science and higher education funding in D.C.

By: Joseph T. Long

Joseph T. Long
Joseph Long in D.C.

On March 27th, Meinig School Ph.D. student Joseph Long (Jan Lammerding lab) was chosen along with a select few students to travel to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. as part of the Cornell Advocacy Day. This exciting opportunity was designed for graduate and professional degree students across all graduate fields to learn more about public policy.

This event allows students to conduct meetings with elected Members of Congress and congressional staff through the Cornell Office of Federal Relations in an effort to advocate for increased spending for scientific agencies such as NSF and NIH as well as more funding for higher education in current spending bills.

Long and colleagues were able to discuss the importance of the federal financial aid programs and tell their stories to congressional staffers about the value and impact of federal student financial aid in their lives. The group was able to talk to science policy and general congressional staff from the offices of Sens. Tina Smith, Maria Cantwell, Kirsten Gillibrand, Reps. Dan Lipinski, & Ben Ray Lujan. Discussions revolved around how scientists can be engaged in policy decisions, how to pitch research to policy makers, navigating the policy realm, and raising the federal budget caps in an effort to support scientific and higher education funding.

In conversation with staffers, Long discussed the importance of the NSF GRFP and how it has allowed him the chance to conduct research that could help improve lives. Of the experience, he said “Advocacy Day was extremely valuable to understand how I as a scientist can become a voice in the decisions we make as a society and I will continue to strengthen my skills for such a cause.” This event is also sponsored by Cornell BEST Program of which he is an active member looking into careers in science communication and policy.

See also: Students travel to D.C. to advocate for federal financial aid

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