A new Robert Frederick Smith Initiative is launching
CBE civic engagement – Robert Frederick Smith Initiative
Scientists in academia are largely supported by public funds and focus on research that they hope will ultimately benefit society. However, graduate education offers little to no instruction on how scientists should enage with fellow scientists, policymakers, and the broader public to help link their work to societal needs. The CBE civic engagement initiative aims to provide opportunities for CBE graduate students to learn about science policy and science communication as well as build a culture of active civic engagement within the department. It includes funding for a few students to attend a science-to-society conference during the spring semester (e.g., the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting) and a department-wide civic engagement event in May. The civic engagement event will consist of three activities: (1) a panel discussion led by conference attendees, (2) a brainstorming session to come up with potential civic engagement activities for the following year (e.g., meeting with local policymakers or a science communication event), and (3) a presentation by a notable person with science policy experience. Kevin Weyant, Jessica A C da Silva, and Lakshmi Nathan have contributed to this initiative and will collaborate with the Cornell graduate student group Advancing Science and Policy to invite a well-known speaker to the event in May.