How to Get Involved with Science Policy Work, with Dr. Elizabeth Wayne – Ep #6

What does it take to get involved with science policy work substantively and effectively? Are the opportunities out there easy to find or do you have to do some digging? In this episode, you’ll hear from Dr. Elizabeth Wayne as she opens up about her journey into science policy work, why science shouldn’t stay out of politics, the value of civic engagement, and so much more.

Dr. Wayne is an award-winning biomedical engineer, TED Fellow, speaker, and advocate for women in higher education. She is also the co-host of the PhDivas Podcast. Dr. Wayne is currently a National Cancer Institute Cancer Nanotechnology Training Program Postdoctoral Fellow in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC-Chapel Hill.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [1:10] Mark introduces his guest, Dr. Elizabeth Wayne.
  • [3:00] Dr. Wayne opens up about how she got started with science policy.
  • [4:45] Why science shouldn’t stay out of politics.
  • [7:45] How to get involved with science policy work.
  • [11:15] The power of civic engagement.
  • [18:30] How failing early can help you succeed.
  • [24:15] Leverage your expertise!

Connect with Dr. Elizabeth Wayne

Why science shouldn’t stay out of politics

Have you ever heard someone say that this field of study or that particular interest should, “Stay out of politics?” Is that truly a fair request? Don’t some of the most critical aspects of our lives intersect with politics at some point? The last thing that we need in our current environmental crisis is for scientists to stay out of politics. We need these experts and valuable voices to speak out and make sure that our elected officials understand the vital data they need as they shape science policy.

Dr. Elizabeth Wayne is hard at work making a case for increased science involvement when it comes to public policy. Looking at lessons learned from history, Dr. Wayne explains that going back to the 1940’s you can see a robust effort by many to fund scientific endeavors with federal funds. Her primary point centers on the fact that since the agencies that support many scientific endeavors were founded in politics, scientists have a vested interest in the political sphere.

Science policy and civic engagement

If you are ready to get involved with science policy, where do you start? Dr. Wayne explains that one of the best ways to get involved when you are attending an educational institution is to look for the science policy work that is already going on. If that step is a dead end, she suggests connecting with the school’s federal relations department (i.e., the lobbyists for the school) to see how they can help highlight your work and its intersection with politics.

You don’t have to be connected to an institution of higher learning to get involved. There is a huge need now, more than ever, for scientists and specialists to jump into the work of civic engagement. From making phone calls and emails to showing up to your representative’s office, you have the power to move the needle and make an impact. Don’t let yourself get sucked into an attitude of apathy and resignation; you have the right and the power to lift your voice and become part of the solution in politics.

Make sure to catch Mark’s full conversation with Dr. Wayne as she expands on these important topics and much more.

Connect With Mark and When Science Speaks

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