Three graduate students from the Texas A&M University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences have been selected to take part in the Scientists Engaging and Educating Decision-makers (SEED) Ambassador program.
Holly Lane, a Master’s student under the supervision of Dr. Seth Murray; Mark McDonald, a doctoral student under the supervision of Drs. Katie Lewis and Terry Gentry; and Rahul Raman, a doctoral student under Drs. Nithya Rajan and Haly Neely, will be representing Texas A&M and our department for the next year.
The SEED Ambassador program is a year-long advocacy training program through the Agronomy Society of America (ASA), the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) providing an opportunity for participants to form trusting relationships with members of Congress.
Ambassadors will begin to work with members of the tri-societies science policy staff this fall to hone their advocacy skills which they will put into action throughout the year.
McDonald said his interest in the project came from his passion for science policy.
“I have attended the Congressional Visits Day with the tri-societies for the past two years and have been looking for a way to be more involved,” McDonald said. “I am excited about this program and the training it offers not only to practice being an advocate for science to lawmakers, but also for the opportunity to network with other students and professionals interested in science policy.”
“There has long been a gap between science and policy that affects common people. As a SEED Ambassador, I will help bridge that gap,” said Raman. “As a Ph.D. student with a science background, being trained in policy will help me deliver scientific outputs in a clear and understandable way to policymakers that could ultimately benefit society.”
Raman chose to participate in the program as a way to connect with policymakers to help him work with them on policy related to food security, sustainable agriculture and climate change.
“By the end of this training, I hope to have a good understanding of the legislative process and be a fluent science communicator to policy audiences and society,” Raman said.
Like McDonald, Lane had previously participated in the Congressional Visits Day put on by the societies.
“I really enjoyed that process and felt like I had a knack for connecting with our policymakers,” Lane said. “I hope to expand on those skills through this program and become a better advocate for science.”