At Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally, we talk frequently about how sometimes the highest hurdle to local engagement can be figuring out how to get started. Another question you may find yourself asking, though, is what type of engagement best fits your life and goals. For me, a municipal task force was the entry point to local engagement. And my current commission service allows me to balance my contributions to local policy with other personal and professional commitments. From fostering relationships with members of my community to teaching me about the intricacies of seemingly straightforward issues, my advisory body service has yielded benefits I could not imagine when I first joined.
So, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our latest Local Engagement Playbook guide on how to join an advisory board or commission. I hope that this guide and the advisory body experiences of myself and others will inspire you to explore the service options available to you in your city, county, or state. And, remember, no first step is too small. If you are uncertain whether advisory body service is for you, try attending one of these bodies’ public meetings. As statistician and Washington State Representative Derek Stanford showed us in one of our first Stories from the Field features, you never know where attending such a meeting might lead you.
To learn more about board and commission service, join us this February in Seattle, Wash. at the AAAS 2020 Annual Meeting for our career workshop, “Shaping STEM Policy without Changing Careers: Local Government Opportunities” or read about the local engagement training workshops we held at the 2019 National Science Policy Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin.
If you are an engineer or scientist who is interested in policy but not quite sure how to make an impact, we hope you find this guide useful. You can access more step-by-step guides in our Local Engagement Playbook, which will continue to update with resources that empower engineers and scientists to take action in their communities.