Professional Development

What we learned in the ATP

Graduates talk about the ASBMB’s Advocacy Training Program
ASBMB Today Staff
May 1, 2019

A goal of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is to provide our members with opportunities and tools to become lifetime advocates for science. Our Advocacy Training Program, implemented last June, is doing just that. More than 20 ASBMB members have gone through this six-month externship, which provides hands-on training and advocacy experience, becoming community leaders in the process.

We invited participants in the first ATP cohort to share their experience and what they have learned through the program. Read their responses in the paragraphs below.

Aria.png"The greatest lesson I learned from being an ATP delegate was how to refine my advocacy strategy. I started the program well aware of the numerous challenges scientists face, but the ATP gave me an opportunity to critically think about how to realistically address those challenges. I learned that one of the most important aspects of advocacy is perfecting “the ask,” a specific policy request made to a legislator regarding a topic. It must be realistic, strategic and ambitious. A good “ask” also requires the advocate to possess a certain level of prudence when considering who they are advocating to. These invaluable lessons have carried over into my personal life, where I have taken initiatives to advocate for graduate students at large and evoke institutional change." Aria Byrd, graduate student, University of Kentucky
 

Shannon Kozlovich"During the ATP I co-founded the Health Sciences Student Advocacy Association at my university (@oneWSUHS). Our advocacy group focuses on innovating ways to amplify student voices on campus and beyond. STEM culture needs to change, and the fastest way to achieve change is to train scientists to advocate for change from within and teach them how to talk with legislators about change (and funding)." Shannon Kozlovich, graduate student, Washington State University
 

Sage Arbor"The ASBMB ATP made me dedicate time to connect with my congressional representatives and work on issues I find important. In the three months since the ATP program ended, I have started multiple policy projects including a pathway analysis of recycling and analyzing the scientific backgrounds of members of Congress."  Sage Arbor, faculty member, Marian University
 

Kelly McAleer"Participating in the ATP took me to a new level in my involvement in science communication and advocacy. Through listening to speakers such as state representatives and science advocacy experts, engaging in hands-on advocacy, and learning about the fundamentals of policy, I was able to strengthen my skills to become an effective advocate. With the support and knowledge I gained from the ATP, I founded an ASBMB Student Chapter at my institution. Currently, I’m the president of the chapter I started, a member of ASBMB’s engagement working group, and vice chair of the ASBMB ATP alumni working group." Kelly McAleer, undergraduate, College of New Jersey
 

Bailey Weatherbee"Through the ATP, I was able to learn about effective advocacy strategies for all of science. We heard from experienced advocates as well as local representatives, which allowed us to construct effective advocacy messages. We were also able to hear from other scientists and cohort members with similar goals, which gave us fresh ideas and provided a support network for questions. I was able to sit down in offices and talk face-to-face with representatives at the local and federal levels to discuss topics such as STEM education and science funding. The ATP furthered empowered me to explore this passion for science communication and advocacy, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity." Bailey Weatherbee, undergraduate student, University of Delaware
 

Christa Trexler"Being a part of the ATP opened up the world of science policy to me, since I had very limited experience with the field during graduate school. Through working with the ATP, I’ve had meaningful interactions with elected officials as well as campaigns. I focused my efforts on working with my local congressional representatives to support legislation that combats sexual harassment in academic science — this is something I continue to work on. I also utilized the skills I obtained from the ATP to create a 2018 midterm science policy voter guide for my community, which is something I would have never thought to tackle before."  Christa Trexler, postdoctoral fellow, University of California, San Diego
 

Daniel Wilson"The ATP has granted me the tools I need to be a science advocate. Before this program, I knew little about how laws that fund scientific research actually work or how my actions could influence them. Now I understand how to set up and have effective meetings with my representatives and organize advocacy events in my own community. In the most recent government shutdown, for example, I was able to guide peers in my department in writing letters to our state representatives to make our voices heard. I would not have had the courage or knowledge to do any of this without the ATP." — Daniel Wilson, graduate student, Carnegie Mellon University

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
ASBMB Today Staff

This article was written by a member or members of the ASBMB Today staff.

Related articles

Meet Dominique Carter
Adriana Bankston
So you're going to grad school
Courtney Chandler
Welcome to the lab
Andrey Andreev, Valerie Komatsu, Paula Almiron, Kasey Rose, Alexandria Hughes & Maurice Y. Lee
All the alt-ac jobs
Elizabeth Stivison

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in Policy

Policy highlights or most popular articles

ARPA-H threatens the biomedical innovation pipeline
Blotter

ARPA-H threatens the biomedical innovation pipeline

May 25, 2022

Congress must find a way to fund the new agency without crippling the NIH and the curiosity-driven research it supports.

FASEB and NIH partner on DataWorks! Prize
Contest

FASEB and NIH partner on DataWorks! Prize

May 21, 2022

Contest highlights power of data sharing and reuse and rewards innovators.

Meet the 2022 ASBMB Advocacy Training Program delegates
Announcement

Meet the 2022 ASBMB Advocacy Training Program delegates

May 19, 2022

The fourth cohort of the ASBMB ATP will learn how to advocate for science policy this summer.

Recap: 2022 ASBMB Capitol Hill Day
News from the Hill

Recap: 2022 ASBMB Capitol Hill Day

May 16, 2022

Twenty-six participants in 19 states connected with officials and staffers in 59 meetings to advocate for science funding and support.

I took the NIH implicit bias training
Essay

I took the NIH implicit bias training

April 29, 2022

"As important as it is to raise awareness of implicit biases, the truth is that NIH needs to deal with explicit biases."

NIH data-sharing requirements: a big step toward more open science
Essay

NIH data-sharing requirements: a big step toward more open science

April 23, 2022

The director of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Open Programs Office weighs in.