Prairie Rivers Network: Science Policy in Action

CLSL B102, Oct 31st at 12:00 pm

Dr. Carol Hays is Executive Director of Prairie Rivers Network, Illinois’ statewide advocate for clean water, healthy rivers and wildlife. PRN is the state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. Prairie Rivers Network works to protect rivers, wetlands and drinking water sources from threats due to industrial, sewage and agricultural pollution, dams, and aquatic invasive species. Based on sound science, PRN encourages land use practices that improve soil health, protect water quality, reduce flooding, and enhance biodiversity. Dr. Hays will discuss the challenges facing Illinois’ rivers and drinking water sources and the strategies PRN uses to address these challenges.

More details on or facebook event page:

Springfield Trip!

On Wednesday, October 25th, SPG is going to Springfield for a Educational and Networking trip. Fill out the short application now at the following link:!

There will be discussions on how to advocate effectively with both our Office of Government Relations and Senator Scott Bennett. We will have a chance to watch a session on the assembly floor and have several meetings with Illinois Representatives and Senators.

We will be leaving campus at 8:15 am and returning to campus around 6pm. Attendees are expected to be available the entire trip and will need to bring money for lunch. Spaces on this trip are limited, so get your application in now!

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 can be found at sec/8366689. Registration is on a first come, first served basis and is limited to 50 people! Morning and afternoon lectures are open to the general public.  This event will take place throughout the day on Thursday, September 21, 2017 from 10:30am to 5:00pm at the Illini Union (314 A & B). See the SPG website for a more detailed schedule: https://publish. sciencepolicygroup/2017/09/07/ sustainability-and-science- policy-workshop/

Pictures from the event:

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 to discuss the readings.  For more information, including the reading group schedule, visit the Science Policy Group Reading Group website.

  • 5:30-6:30 pm in the Asian American Cultural Center conference room
  • September 12th
  • September 26
  • October 10
  • October 24
  • November 14
  • November 28

Fighting Gerrymandering with Blue Waters Supercomputing

The Science Policy Group at UIUC is hosting a presentation by Prof. Wendy K. Tam Cho, of the departments of Political Science, Statistics, and Asian American Studies. She will present her interdisciplinary research that utilizes Blue Waters, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, to develop a standard for partisan gerrymandering. This work focuses on analyzing and reforming redistricting in a way that is tightly coupled with the framework that the Supreme Court has outlined over the past five decades. Her work draws from many fields, including statistics, operations research, computer science, high performance computing, math, law, and political science.

Join us Thursday, August 31st at 2:30 p.m. at B102 CLSL (Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory)!

Read more about Prof. Cho’s research: here

See our Facebook event for more updates: here

Science Policy Fellowship Workshop

The Science Policy Group in partnership with the Office of External Fellowships has put together a Science Policy Fellowship Workshop. This workshop will introduce participants to the myriad of science policy fellowships available and offer helpful tips to enable students to tailor their science policy fellowship applications towards science policy rather than research. Previous science policy fellowship recipients, Dr. Gay Miller (AAAS) and Dr. Derek Attig (Google Public Policy), will provide input on their experiences as a fellow. This workshop will take place on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 from 10:00am-12:00pm at Lincoln Hall room 1092.

More information on our Facebook event page: here

Update: Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett Lecture

Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) came to UIUC to give a  public talk on science-based legislation on Thursday, July 13th at the Beckman Institute auditorium. Over 150 people came to watch Senator Bennett give a short lecture based on his experience working with scientists to craft legislation within the Illinois Senate. He helped explain how scientists are able to contribute their knowledge and research throughout the legislative process and then answered questions.

Video recording of the event: here

Pictures of the event: here

Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett: A Public Talk on Science-Based Legislation

Senator Bennett (D-Champaign) will be giving a short lecture based on his experience working with scientists to craft legislation within the Illinois Senate. He will help explain how scientists are able to contribute their knowledge and research throughout the legislative process, followed by a short question and answer period. The public talk on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus will be held on Thursday, July 13t h at 4:00 pm in the auditorium at the Beckman Institute, 405 N. Mathews, Urbana. The talk is open to the public.

Senator Bennett is the state senator from Illinois 52n d district representing Champaign and Vermillion counties. As vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee he has been a tireless advocate for protecting local farmers and the environment. He has passed legislation to help protect the Mahomet aquifer and maintain clean drinking water for the area. He also serves on committees striving to improve higher education in Illinois, and has sponsored legislation to increase agricultural education.

The event is sponsored by the UIUC Science Policy Group (SPG). The SPG is a bipartisan collective of graduate students who are interested in creating opportunities for scientists to engage in the public policy discourse. The group has previously hosted several invited speakers and lectures for the campus community, including their bi-annual Call a Representative Day event hosted every spring and fall. The event will co-hosted by the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. The Beckman Institute is a worldwide leader in fostering interdisciplinary research in engineering, and physical and biological sciences.

For more information, contact us at

Diversity Initiatives in Stem: Brown Bag Lunch

Science Policy Group is hosting a brown bag lunch discussion on diversity policy initiatives in STEM! The goal of this discussion is to introduce policies that promote diversity in STEM (such as NSF’s Broadening Participation Initiatives), to understand how these policies were drafted, and to evaluate their ability to recruit underrepresented groups to STEM fields.

Prof. Jennifer Greene from the Educational Psychology Department and Dr. Ellen Wang Althaus, Director of Graduate Diversity in the Department of Chemistry, will be guiding the discussion.

Date and time: Wednesday, April 19th 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Venue: Asian American Cultural Center, 1210 W. Nevada St., Urbana, IL

Bring your own lunch (if desired), coffee and cookies will be served
RSVP: (space is limited!)
Contact Cecilia Gentle at with any questions.

Call A Representative Day

Stop by our Call A Representative Day this upcoming Monday April 10th at the Illini Union Room 104 from 9 am – 5 pm!

The proposed federal budget features alarming cuts to science. This funding is what brings about new discoveries that help us progress as a society and provide better quality of life to its citizens. We all can play a role in keeping funding where we need it. Drop by the Illini Union for Call a Rep Day. It’s as simple as taking 5 minutes to call your rep and telling them why funding science is important to you. We’ll have the phone number of your rep and some talking points in case you aren’t sure of what to say. Stand up for science, call your rep!

What has been proposed:
o NIH funding cut by 18% or
o EPA funding cut by 31%
o $1.7 billion cut from the Department of Energy
o NOAA’s funding cut by 17%
o Call for NASA to focus on “deep-space exploration rather than Earth-centric research”
o Elimination of funding towards climate change research

Reference: Nature 543, 471–472 (23 March 2017) doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21652

Talking points: