TriSci, a group of graduate students aimed at promoting science communication and advocacy, has been awarded a 2021 Civic Engagement Microgrant Initiative by Research!America and the Rita Allen Foundation.
They are among 19 graduate student and postdoc-led science policy groups from across the U.S. to earn funding to develop and lead outreach activities in their local communities.
TriSci, made up of Heather Hamilton, polymer science and engineering,; Adaeze Egwuatu, neuroscience and behavior; and Laura Hancock, organismic and evolutionary biology; was started in 2019. The mission of the TriSci group is structured around three pillars: communication with the public, advocacy for science, and an understanding of how science and science research policy impact the scientific community and the public.
Previously, the group worked closely with the UMass Amherst Office of Professional Development (OPD) to produce and implement a series of events funded by a 2019-20 Research!America civic engagement microgrant. These events focused on science communication and advocacy and were successful in achieving grant aims.
This year with their Research!America microgrant, TriSci plans to continue their partnership with OPD to host virtual events aimed at helping connect scientists, build networks between STEM disciplines and social sciences and to encourage early career researchers to pursue public engagement. The group also plans to develop an official administrative team of graduate students, aiming to gain official UMass Graduate Student Organization (GSO) status and open the organization to general members.