SACNAS NDiSTEM 2023 - Building Your Voice: An Introduction to Science & Advocacy at the Local Level

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STEM professionals of all career stages, whether well-established or just starting out, have a tremendous opportunity to engage with their communities. From public health to affordable housing, environmental conservation to arts and culture, scientists bring a unique insight valuable to local policy issues both within and outside of the scientific arena. However, the pathway to effective advocacy is not always clear, as STEM professionals are often not provided the guidance needed to leverage their expertise for community progress. Furthermore, advocating for policy issues beyond one’s scientific discipline can seem daunting, as scientists must translate their expertise for new audiences and toward new outcomes. 

In this session, attendees will hear from professionals who have affected change in their communities as scientists, advocates, and a combination of the two. Through partnership and community engagement, these individuals have simultaneously made science central to local policymaking and improved the well-being of their community. This workshop will provide scientists of all stages a valuable pathway as they embark on their own advocacy journey. Following a robust panel discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to plan their first steps in this journey, utilizing resources from Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally (ESAL) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to identify concrete goals and strategies to get involved in the local policy discussions about which they are most passionate.


Nafisa Fai

Washington County

Sasha Gilmore

PhD student
Boston University

Aimée Okotie-Oyekan

Environmental justice activist and advocate

Maria Valadez Ingersoll

PhD student
Boston University

Melissa Varga

Science Network Community & Partnerships Manager,
Union of Concerned Scientists


 October 26, 2023 , 1:45 - 3:00 PM PT
Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally (ESAL) is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to increasing local government and community engagement by people with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Subscribe to our newsletter for notifications of future events.
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