We are members of the UCSF Science Policy Group -a registered campus organization (RCO) dedicated to educating our students and postdocs about science policy issues as well as taking action to support science advocacy. We are a special interest group made up of students and postdocs at UCSF. This march and fundraiser directly aligns with our mission as a science policy group. Being political is part of our mission and we are interested in political/policy careers.
In light of the current administration's documented anti-science and anti-immigration policies (both of which dramatically effect the scientific enterprise), we decided that it was important to send early-career scientists to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March for Science, and to use the trip as an opportunity to coordinate with other science policy organizations to meet with legislators to discuss the critical importance of sustained research funding, and to explain the importance of bringing scientific perspectives to a range of policy issues.
Science is the eternal quest for truth - a burning curiosity that has brought us astronomy, an ebola vaccine, cars, planes, trains, GPS technology, cell phones, computers, transistors, outer space, cures for common diseases that were once death sentences, and a dramatically increased quality of life! Knowledge is power. Knowledge is investing in the future, and any short-sighted wish to throttle this (largely federally-funded) information pipeline is a formula for disaster.
Like the great science guru himself, Neil deGrasse Tyson, said on Twitter, “I dream of a world where the truth is what shapes people’s politics, rather than politics shaping what people think is true.”
So, please - help us stand up for our collective future - by supporting our efforts to stand up for science and march on washington!
What is our relationship to the parties we are raising funds for? We are raising funds to send students and postdocs in the Science Policy Group at UCSF to Washington DC.
Who will withdraw the funds?
Samantha Ancona Esslemann, a UCSF graduate student and the manager of this campaign, will withdraw the funds into her personal bank account, with oversight and accountability from the UCSF Graduate Division Office. She will keep a careful accounting of how the funds are used. If you would like a summary of how the funds were used, please contact us!
How will these funds be spent? We will use these funds to pay for airfare for as many students as possible to Washington, D.C. We are looking for existing connections and friends in Washington DC to host scientists so we can use funds exclusively for airfare, when possible. We will allocate $600 per scientist selected to travel. These funds will not be used for: food, travel once in DC, alcohol, other.
See updates for additional information about the trip, including tentative schedules.
In light of recent feedback about our campaign, we have decreased our goal amount, we have tightened up and clarified our mission, and we have engaged in a productive discussion within the group about how to respect the concerns while continuing to pursue our goals. That said, we will emphasize that we will work hard to send a diverse group of students and postdocs to advocate.
There is a lack of diversity in STEM fields that's caused by compounding factors, one of which is a broken education system. According to the U.S. Department of Education, African Americans received 7.6% of all STEM bachelor's degrees and 4.5% of doctorates in STEM. Only 6% of STEM workers are African American. Similarly, less than 2% of STEM workers are Hispanic. Furthermore, African American students show an initial interest in STEM as freshman in college but switch from a STEM major to a non-STEM major at a high rate. This is unacceptable and we are marching for better STEM education for people of color, in order to further the diversity in STEM fields.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post and on our introduction video are our own and do not represent the University of California.