From the bench to the ballot: Stories from scientists who have run for office

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Feb. 21, 2024 | Duration: 1 hr. 24 mins.

Over half a million people serve in elected office in the United States, and even more serve their communities through appointments to boards and commissions. However, public office remains a rare and enigmatic path for many scientists. This session aims to demystify the path from the bench to the ballot by highlighting the experiences of biochemists and molecular biologists serving in office at various levels. The panel discusses their career trajectories, their experience running for and serving in office, and how they use their scientific background in office. Ample time will be dedicated to audience Q&A. Disclosure: The ASBMB does not share any of the values of 314 Action and does not endorse any candidates for office.


Michaela Muza-Hendrix

Michaela Muza–Hendrix, moderator
Recruitment Manager (State Legislative & Municipal), 314 Action

Shaughnessy Naughton

Shaughnessy Naughton
Founder of 314 Action, former Pennsylvania Congressional candidate

Darshana Patel

Darshana Patel
Board of Education Trustee, Board President, Poway Unified School District

Sarah Smaga

Sarah Smaga, moderator
Scientific Conferences Coordinator, 314 Action
ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee member

Regina Vidaver

Regina Vidaver
Madison Common Council Alder, District 5

Nicole Woitowich

Nicole Woitowich
Executive Director, Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
Former Park Ridge–Niles school board member

Who should watch

Individuals at all career stages and backgrounds, no prior political experience required.