Developing Civic Scientist Leaders

Program created by Dr. Kirstin Matthews & Melody Tan (Spring 2020)

Program description

Ongoing pressure to curb federal government spending, including funding for scientific research, and increasing criticism of scientifically sound research have created a pressing need to train the next generation of civic scientists—scientists and engineers who step beyond their campuses, laboratories and institutes and into the center of their communities to engage in active dialogue with their fellow citizens. The Developing Civic Scientist Leaders (DCSL) Program at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy engaged science and engineering graduate students through a Spring 2020 seminar course, where they learned about the federal policymaking process and develop critical leadership skills to advance science as a public good.

Participants attended a weekly one-hour seminar to improve their understanding of public policy and build the communication skills needed to engage policymakers and the general public in their area of expertise. Students learned about the federal budget process and the relationship between science and policy, and develop written materials on a specific science policy topic. This year, we focused on international science collaboration and U.S. competitiveness. The course culminated in virtual congressional visits, where the students discussed their research and policy topic with legislative staff.

Baker Institute blog posts

Is My Neighborhood Polluted? The Case for Mobile Monitoring in Houston by Blake Actkinson, Department of Civic and Environmental Engineering

The Unspoken Threat of the Anthropocene by Robert Laroche, Department of BioSciences

Texas Should Adopt Stricter Standards on Persistent Chemical Pollutants by Jordin Metz, Department of Chemistry

Biomanufacturing at Epi(demi)c Proportions by Kathryn Brink, Systems, Synthetic and Physical Biology Program

Facing our Climate Contradictions by Lauren Howe-Kerr, Department of BioSciences

How Can we Prevent the Next 'CRISPR Babies'? by Adam Navara, Department of Bioengineering

The Ones the Covid-19 Relief (CARES) Bill Left Behind by Robert Laroche, Department of BioSciences

Sears: Once your Ordinary Department Store, Now a Vehicle for Tech Sector Gentrification by Nicole Mitchell, Department of Computer Science

Destroying Environmental Protections During Covid-19 Will Cause More Respiratory Illness by Jordin Metz, Department of Chemistry, Rice University

Environmental Policy Update: More Deregulation by the Trump Administration by Jordin Metz, Department of Chemistry

Restoring Natural Bodies of Water – An Emerging Crisis by Prakash Reddy Chintakunta, Applied Physics Graduate Program

Preparing for the Next Employment Revolution by Janelle Clark, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Supporting Resourceful Space Exploration by Robert Bullard, Professional Science Master’s Program