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Apply now for Nov 6 workshop on STEM Policy & Advocacy featuring AAAS and Toby Smith of the AAU

Posted by on Friday, September 29, 2017 in Uncategorized .

STEM Policy & Advocacy: Making Your Voice Heard

Monday, November 6, 2017

10:45-5:30 PM 

Vanderbilt University

Keynote address by Tobin (Toby Smith), Vice President for Policy at the Association of American Universities

"Engaging Policymakers" workshop facilitated by the American Advancement for the Association of Science (AAAS)

“Engaging the Public with Social Media” seminar facilitated by AAAS

Sponsored by the Vanderbilt Graduate School, BRET Office of Career Development, Vanderbilt University Office of Federal Relations, the College of Arts and Science, the Office of News and Public Affairs, and the Vanderbilt Science Policy Group


This three-part workshop for Vanderbilt graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in STEM disciplines is designed to help researchers understand the history of federal funding for university research, develop practical communication strategies to engage policymakers about STEM research, and learn the do's and don'ts of engaging the public with social media. 

Applications are now being accepted to attend the full day program, including the AAAS workshop on Strategic Engagement of Policymakers, which is limited to 50 participants. Apply for the full day program online at The deadline to apply has been extended to Friday, October 20 at 12 pm. Applicants will be notified by Wednesday, October 18, whether they are accepted to attend the full program. Applicants for the full program are expected to attend the keynote, workshop and seminar.

Please note: If you are unable to attend the full day program, but wish to attend only the keynote and/or seminar on social media, a separate stand-alone registration for those events will open on October 18.



10:45 am Keynote by Tobin Smith, Vice President for Policy, Association of American Universities

Mr. Smith will describe the history of federal funding for STEM basic research and speak to current events affecting the outlook for federally funded university research.

Lunch Included for AAAS workshop participants
1:00 pm Workshop on Strategic Engagement of Policymakers, facilitated by AAAS (limited to 50 people)

The 3-hour Strategic Engagement of Policymakers workshop provides guidance in navigating engagements with key decision makers. Participants will discuss successful methods within an ever-changing landscape. Topics include:

  • overview of science policy landscape
  • strategies for effective targeting of policymakers
  • discussion of the role of the scientist in the policy process
  • participating in mock briefings, including giving a talk and fielding questions
4:30 pm Seminar on Engaging the Public with Social Media, presented by AAAS

This 1- hour seminar will provide guidance to scientists who wish to engage publics via social media. It is designed to build skills for public engagement via social media, confidence in social media as a way to engage public audiences, and appreciation for public engagement approaches. The seminar includes:

  • analysis of Americans’ social media use
  • best practices and strategies for communicating scientific information via social media
  • evaluation/measuring impacts


About the workshop speakers and facilitators

Tobin Smith is Vice President for Policy at the Association of American Universities, where he oversees and coordinates policy and policy analysis activities for the organization. Among his specific areas of responsibility are issues relating to science and innovation policy; academic research; regulation, compliance and research costs; technology transfer; and openness and security. Toby also oversees AAU’s Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative. Prior to joining AAU in 2003, Toby worked as a federal relations representative for the University of Michigan and MIT. He began his Washington career on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to Congressman Bob Traxler (D-Michigan). Toby has written and spoken widely on science policy and funding issues. He is the co-author a book on national science policy titled Beyond Sputnik – U.S. Science Policy in the 21st Century. Toby holds an MS in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University, and a BGS degree from University of Michigan.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society whose mission is to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people."  AAAS has developed and maintains a successful communication-skills training programs for researchers. The first AAAS “Communicating Science" program was launched at the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston and has since provided more than 150 workshops for over 4,700 scientist and engineer attendees at universities, science society meetings, and government agency labs in the US and internationally. The workshops are designed to develop effective scientist-communicators who foster information-sharing and respect between science and the public are essential for true public communication of and engagement with science. Each interactive workshop targets scientists specifically and addresses message development, defining audience, identifying opportunities for engaging the public, and practice with public presentations and cameras. The workshop format allows for collaborative learning through small-group discussion, resource sharing, and participation in critique of other participants’ presentations. 

Emily Therese Cloyd is the Project Director, Public Engagement at AAAS and is responsible for the daily operations of the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. She is a scientist and public engagement enthusiast and focuses her work on building scientists’ skills in communicating and engaging the public around science. Emily’s background is in ecology and environmental policy. She has a bachelor’s in plant biology from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in conservation biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and has completed additional advanced graduate study in environmental policy. Prior to joining AAAS, she led engagement and outreach efforts for the National Climate Assessment at the U.S. Global Change Research Program and served as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since 2004, the AAAS Center for Public Engagement has worked to further awareness of science and the scientific process and increase public input into scientific research and policy agendas, encouraging and facilitating dialogue between policymakers, the general public, and the scientific community.


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