August Newsletter

Full newsletter can be found here:

Fighting Gerrymandering with Blue Waters

Professor Wendy K. Tam Cho from the Departments of Political Science, Statistics, and Asian American Studies will be discussing her research on analyzing and reforming redistricting to prevent gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is when politicians manipulate district lines within a state to gain an advantage over the opposition party. Politicians can use redistricting to aggregate voters in one district that benefit their own political platform. Alternatively, they can neutralize a person’s vote by aggregating them into a district that will ensure their vote becomes part of the minority group of people.

Gerrymandering has a palpable consequence for eligible voters. Political parties in charge can keep their power even after losing a popular vote. This causes representatives to not properly represent their constituents, furthering the partisan divide.

This talk discusses how the computational power of Blue Waters, along with mathematical methods, can tackle the problem of gerrymandering. Additionally, it will illustrate how STEM disciplines, which are unrelated to politics, can be used to address political issues.

Thursday August 31, 2:30 PM, CLSL B102

Intersectionality within the Sciences Reading Group

Have you ever questioned how gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and disabilities play into STEM? Come to our Reading Group affiliated with the Science Policy Group. Introducing readings from critical race theory and feminism, we will examine how the inclusion and exclusion of marginalized groups shape STEM education and scientific policy-making. Open to both undergraduates and graduate students, participants need no background in social sciences or cultural studies. Starting September 12, we will have bimonthly meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM in the conference room, Asian American Cultural Center to discuss the readings.  For more information, visit the Science Policy Group Reading Group website.

Sustainability and Science Policy Workshop

The Science Policy Group and the Students Sustainability Committee will be offering a day-long workshop that will help students learn more about how science and sustainability policies are developed, implemented, and advanced. The workshop will include lectures and interactive sessions led by facilitators from a range of backgrounds. Registration for the interactive sessions is required and will be filled on a first come, first served basis up to 50 people! Morning and afternoon lectures are open to the general public.

Thursday September 21, 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Illini Union 314 A & B

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM (Lecture) Introducing Scientists to Science Policy

2:00 PM to 3:45 PM (Interactive Sessions) Effective Lobbying Strategies & Economic Trade-offs of Creating New Policies

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM (Lecture) Sustainability in Research and Policy

Executive Board Elections in October

Elections for the 2018 Science Policy Group Executive Board will take place in October.  In order to run for a position or cast a vote, you must have attended 2 SPG events in the calendar year or served on a committee for 6 months.  If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Courtney (

Interested in joining one of our committees?  Visit our website for more information!