Science Outside the Lab in Our Nation’s Capital

I arrived at Northwestern with a passion for women’s health research, along with a vision for increasing scientific literacy, improving upon science communication, and engaging more women in science. Over the past few years, my vision has become more focused. I hope to work at both a local and national level to improve healthcare for women in a world where reproductive science is often disregarded, to the detriment of women nationwide.

My goal is to combine my expertise in women’s health and reproductive science, and my communications skills, to inform policy that affects women. In the past I’ve always said, “we need more women in policy,” or “we need more scientists in policy,” and now I know I am that woman. I am that scientist. We all should be.

This is why I’m so excited to have the opportunity to learn more about science policy from the decision makers themselves. The Graduate School at Northwestern sponsored two students to travel to DC for two weeks to complete a Science Outside the Lab workshop, developed by Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes.

Meeting with decision makers in our nation’s capital, all with different viewpoints, will teach me how to make my voice heard to different audiences and allow me to grow as a communicator. I plan to learn as much as I can about how policy, regulations, and science funding are determined, and disseminate this information to other scientists, so that we can all get more involved and affect change. A misinformed public catalyzes misinformed policy, and that’s something we can all work together to improve.

Follow my adventures on twitter: @kellyemckinnon

Look for more blog updates as I learn more about the role that we, as scientists, can play in shaping policy.

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