Interview: Notre Dame's Science Policy Initiative

Author: Jessica Baron

An interview with Eve Granatosky and Joshua Mason, co-founders of the Science Policy Initiative at Notre Dame

June 9, 2015

Science Policy Notre Dame

Can you tell us a little bit about your project and what you're trying to accomplish?

After taking a class through the GLOBES program (the Policy and Communication Training Module), we both realized we wanted to be more actively involved in activities related to science policy and communication on campus. We decided to form the Science Policy Initiative at Notre Dame (SPI@ND) after realizing that there was a need for a forum for graduate students from across various natural and social scientific disciplines to engage in issues related to science policy. We’re trying to spark student-driven dialogue on campus, provide networking and professional development opportunities for students interested in science policy, and work to communicate the value of scientific research to society at large through interactions with policymakers.

What are some of your upcoming plans? 

The next plan that we have as a group is to elect our inaugural Executive Board, which will consist of two Co-Presidents, a Communications Director, and a Finance Director. Recently, we have also sponsored a prize at the interdepartmental Branch Out with STEM poster session, and are working to set up meetings with Congresswoman Walorski and Senator Donnelly during the summer Congressional recess. Our group will be spending time during our next meetings discussing the most effective strategies for communicating with policymakers, and reviewing webinars and other educational material for more insight into the most effective communication practices. 

What challenges have you faced and what can our campus community do to help? 

One of the most difficult challenges we have faced is getting the word out there about SPI@ND. For this reason, we feel that we are missing a large part of the student population who may be interested in SPI@ND. Therefore, helping with spreading the work of SPI@ND would be highly beneficial to the group. Any interested students can get more information about upcoming meetings and events by contacting scipolnd@gmail.com, or by finding us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SciencePolicyInitiativeND.

Any final thoughts? 

The Reilly Center has been instrumental in providing us with a strong support network to ensure that SPI@ND is successful during its infancy. The faculty and staff of the Reilly Center have provided us with extremely valuable guidance and mentorship throughout the past few months, and our members are certainly grateful for the food we’ve been able to provide during our first few meetings thanks to our successfully funded Reilly Center Mini-Grant.