Advocacy Training Program

We are accepting applications for the 2023 ATP. Deadline: April 21. Apply now

The ASBMB Advocacy Training program is a three-month externship (May through August) that provides hands-on science policy and advocacy training for ASBMB members. ATP delegates learn about science advocacy, the role of Congress and policymakers in funding science, and how to effectively advocate. With support from ASBMB public affairs staff, delegate will develop and execute their own independent advocacy activity to address an issue affecting the research enterprise and/or their communities.

Participants (called delegates) gain the necessary skills to create change and be a leader for those seeking to do the same. They learn alongside a cohort of their peers who are dedicated to doing the same type of work and access unique networking opportunities. They also learn the importance of policy writing and how to communicate scientific issues to congressional staffers and other diverse audiences.

Goal of the ATP

The ATP aims to (1) provide professional development for our members (2) expand BMB advocacy efforts and (3) increase the connection points between ASBMB members and the public affairs department to spur new advocacy efforts that are relevant to members.

What to expect as an ATP delegate

The program requires about 10 to 12 hours a month for coursework, discussions and activities.

Each delegate attends weekly virtual training sessions (1.5 hours long each), completes applied learning assignments and develops their independent advocacy activity. The syllabus includes the following sessions:

Section One: Science policy, advocacy and the federal government

  • Session 1 — What is science policy?
  • Session 2 — The executive branch and federal agencies.
  • Session 3 — Congressional advocacy, agency authorization and the budget process.
  • Session 4 — State and local advocacy and engaging community stakeholders.

Section Two: Science policy strategy

  • Session 5 — Science policy writing
  • Session 6 — Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in advocacy
  • Session 7 — Constructing your advocacy message: Elevator pitches
  • Session 8 — Elevator pitch practice

Section Three: Advocating before, during and after

  • Session 9 — Exploring science policy careers
  • Session 10 — ATP virtual Hill Day: Preparation
  • Session 11 — ATP virtual Hill Day: Practice
  • Session 12 — ATP virtual Hill Day

What ATP delegates gain

ATP delegates gain not only advocacy skills but also produce their own policy materials and access unique opportunities. Each delegate:

  • Conducts an advocacy activity that matches their interests.
  • Speaks with congressional policymakers about relevant science policy topics
  • Writes a policy op-ed or policy brief.
  • Attends an exclusive career panel of science policy professionals.
  • Gets a chance to be invited to the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee as a nonvoting member (two-year term).
  • Gets the opportunity to present advocacy activities at the next ASBMB annual meeting, Discover BMB.

Any questions can be directed to

Cohort 4 delegates

Ankita Arora

Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

“I am passionate about advocating for diversity in science, highlighting difficulties that international scholars face. As a part of ASBMB ATP, I hope to gain insights into how to be a better advocate for my community and their inclusion in STEM."

M. Cortez Bowlin

Graduate student
University of Alabama at Birmingham

“Coming from a rural community, I have personal experience in dealing with the distrust and doubt in science that results from poor communication, jargon-rich press releases and culturally tone-deaf statements often associated with 'Big Science.' I look forward to honing my advocacy skills and developing successful strategies for communicating between policymakers and stakeholders.”

Roxanne Evande

Graduate student
University of Delaware

“Through the ATP, I hope to improve my legislative, formal writing skills and policy vocabulary.”

Ryan Feathers

Graduate student
Cornell University

“Through the ATP, I hope to learn how to advocate for scientists from diverse backgrounds and promote increasing accessibility to a graduate education.”

Cedric Lansangan

Graduate student
Loma Linda University

“I am excited to learn how to better advocate for increased and enhanced support, outreach and funding for the physician-scientist pathway, one which is known for its leakiness and perceived difficulty.”

Lance Li

Georgetown University

“I hope to become a scientist that breaks free from the ivory tower stereotype and one day hold a platform contributing to both biomedical research advancement and scientific policy reform.”

Lien Nguyen

Postdoctoral Researcher
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

“I’m passionate about promoting more equitable healthcare access and improving science education and research in developing countries, including my home country, Vietnam.”

Emily Pitsch

Graduate student
University of Utah

“My passion for advocacy work was realized through involvement in a local and state issue concerning invasive development in Utah’s mountains. I look forward to blending my passions for science and political action in my future career.”

Chelsea Rand–Fleming

Graduate student
Auburn University

“I am excited to participate in the ATP program because it will allow me to further serve as a role model to my daughter by displaying the importance of advocacy, outreach and service. It’s my goal to also demonstrate that we all have the potential to have an impact on the world.”

Aishwarya Sriraman

ORISE Fellow
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense

“Throughout my career, I have gained insight into systemic hurdles in making a career out of basic science research. Through the ATP, I wish to learn how to bring about sustainable change in that system by advocating for more diverse perspectives and increased technical expertise at the policy-making level.”



Do I have to be an ASBMB member?
Acceptance into the ATP requires an active ASBMB membership. If you’re not already a member, join here.
Which career-stages are eligible to apply?
All career stages between undergraduate students and faculty members are eligible to apply. Though the ATP is tailored to be most impactful for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, faculty members are also welcome to apply. Due to programmatic limitations, no more than two undergraduate students per ATP cohort will be accepted.
Can green card holders and non-citizens apply?
Yes, you can apply.
What kind and how much homework will there be?
Homework will vary depending on the week. During the first half of the ATP, you’ll read articles, watch videos and complete targeted activities to help you develop your understanding of an issue area of your choice. Examples of each homework assignment will be provided. The second half of the ATP will be spent on larger projects, e.g., elevator pitch and written op-ed or policy memo. Be prepared to dedicate 10–12 hours a month to the program. If you cannot make such a commitment, skip this application period and apply in the following cycle.
What if I miss a session?
Delegates are expected to attend each session to develop the tools needed to become an effective advocate. Because the sessions are virtual, you should be able to attend from any location. Sessions will be scheduled on Wednesday afternoons from 4–5 p.m. Eastern. If you foresee more than three date conflicts, we ask that you do not apply. Note: We will not be meeting the week of the July 4.
Do I have to tell my research adviser/principal investigator that I am applying?
We encourage you to discuss your application and participation in this program with your adviser. If you believe that there will be a conflict between you and your adviser (or other institutional officials), we ask that you not apply. 
Do I get to participate in the ASBMB’s Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C.?
We're not sure! Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual ASBMB Capitol Hill Day has been conducted virtually with our Public Affairs Committee. As the situation evolves and Congress becomes accessible in-person again, this may change. 
What do I get out of becoming a delegate?
Our goal is to produce self-motivated, knowledgeable delegates dedicated to advocating for life science research. You will gain skills that you need to create change in your region and to become a leader for those seeking to do the same. You will have a built-in network of at least 10 other delegates around the country dedicated to doing the same type of work, meet and network with expert guest speakers, and learn about career opportunities in science policy. 
What happens after it’s over?
Alumni have the opportunity to become teaching assistants for the next cohort, participate in an ATP alumni working group and join ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee working groups. The ASBMB policy team will use alumni feedback to improve the program for the next cohort of delegates. The policy team also will call upon alumni to mobilize their local networks to coordinate national advocacy campaign efforts.
If I don’t become a delegate this year, can I apply the next year?
Yes. Applications are expected to cycle annually. Reach out to for the latest information.
I’d like to participate in advocacy, but can’t commit that much time to this program. What can I do?
The ASBMB provides a variety of advocacy activities throughout the year. Email to learn what opportunities might be available, such as writing an article for the ASBMB Today magazine.

Additional resources


ASBMB delegates leave their mark on policymaking

Advocacy Training Program participants use their new skills to improve their institutional environments, create new programs, draft policy recommendations, perform targeted outreach and more.


What we learned in the ATP

Seven members of the first group to complete the ASBMB’s Advocacy Training Program describe their experiences and share what they learned.


Advocacy toolkit

Best practices for sharing your stories with the policymakers whose decisions affect your work.


Your voice does matter

Even in these deeply partisan times, grassroots advocacy is effective. As a subject matter expert, you can educate your legislator about the value of science.