Upcoming Events for Spring 2017

~By Humaira Taz

Welcome everyone for another activity-filled semester with your campus science policy group! Our goal this semester is not only to expand our presence on campus, but also to collaborate with different campus organizations and program events to demonstrate how omnipresent science policy is in our lives. Getting involved in science policy is a job exclusive to neither journalists/political science majors nor science majors. Science pervades in all aspects of our lives so it’s very important to get involved in the policies that govern the direction in which scientific research goes. This means we cannot simply leave the burden of this responsibility only to small percentage of the population. If we are to live the consequences of the policies made, we need to get involved ourselves. So without further delay, here is the list of upcoming activities FOSEP has planned for you this semester.

  1. Discussion with Senator Briggs; March 31st, 2017, afternoon. Image result for senator briggs tennesseeDr. Richard Briggs is a Republican member of the Tennessee State Senate, representing District 7, and was first elected to the chamber in 2014. He obtained his B. S. from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and went on to attend the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Upon his graduation from there in 1978, he joined the military services and rose to the rank of a full Colonel. He is a vital figure in sponsoring bills influencing healthcare in Tennessee (a full list of bills he sponsored can be found here). Officers of FOSEP and two members of the FOSEP legislative team will meet with Senator Briggs to have an open discussion, with the objective of getting involved on a local level at policy-making.
  2. Beyond Academia: Environmental Edition; April 8th, 2017, 10AM-3PM; UT Panhellenic Building. altCareerThis event, in collaboration with GREBE, is a dive into all the career options one can go into with a science degree. There will be panelists from government agencies, NGOs, the CDC, ORNL, science policy organizations, science communicators, the Knoxville Zoo, and more! They will be available to answer your questions about what can you do with a science degree other than being in the academia, how can you prepare yourself ahead of time, what kind of networking skills might be vital starting even from your undergrad days….and pretty much any question you can come up with. As a fourth year grad student who is just now trying to figure out what steps to take for transitioning into a science writing career, I can affirm that this event will benefit undergrads and early stage grad students more than you might anticipate. So don’t miss out on this gem! Check out the event on our Facebook page for more details.
  3. Staged reading of “Informed Consent” by Deborah Zoe Laufer; April 23rd, 2017, 6:30PM-8:30PM; Hodges Library Auditorium.Image result for informed consent play Photo source: http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/59408/informed-consent

“Informed Consent” by Deborah Zoe Laufer is a play that was inspired by a court case between a Native American tribe and an Arizona University. It addresses issues such as science vs belief, and whether the public has a right to choose what they want to know, or what they would rather stay in the dark about. The play has received excellent reviews from well-known organizations such as the New York Times, Cleveland Examiner, Broad Street Review to name a few. The staged reading will be in collaboration with the campus organization All-Campus Theater, followed by a panel Q&A/discussion session. To say the least, this event is an entertaining way to think deeper about how science policy affects our lives. I wouldn’t miss it! Facebook event for this coming soon!

For now this is all folks, but we will surely have some more events going in the very-near future!


TVA’s 20 Year Integrated Resource Plan with Gary Brinkworth

Remember to join us March 29th at 6pm in the Panhellenic Building (Room 202) to hear from Gary Brinkworth about the TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan.

Dr. Brinkworth joined the TVA in 2009 as the Senior Manager of New Generation and Portfolio Optimization. In that role, he led the analytical team that developed TVA’s Integrated Resource Plan that was published in 2011. In 2013, Dr. Brinkworth became the project manager for the 2015 Integrated Resource Plan study. He is now the TVA’s Director of Technology Innovation.

This should be a really informative talk and a great chance to talk to someone with extensive industry experience. There will be plenty of time following the presentation for Q&A.
Hope to see you all tomorrow,
The FOSEP Officers

VOLCON: A New Tool to Increase Volunteers at Community Schools

Volunteering in Knox County schools is currently very difficult due to security concerns and a lack of overall coordination between the volunteers and local schools. The VOLunteer COmmunity Network (VOLCON) is a virtual space, currently under development, that is specifically designed to address these problems and will facilitate volunteer-educator connections. The initial focus of VOLCON would be to coordinate with the Knox County’s Community Schools Initiative (KCCSI) and the University of Tennessee (UT). The KCCSI was selected because of the program’s concentration on high risk communities and willingness to participate. The KCCSI facilitates the establishment of public schools as a hub for organizing community programs to improve neighborhood well-being and student academic success. This strategic approach has had enormous success in increasing student test scores and overall retention, and in order to expand upon their success the KCCSI needs to attract more volunteers and develop long-term formal relationships.  The University of Tennessee is the initial source of volunteers in VOLCON because of the university’s current involvement in two KCCSI participant schools, Pond Gap Elementary and Inskip Elementary, as well as a significant student body interest to volunteer with Knox County schools, as UT students encounter difficulties when attempting to volunteer because there is not a ready path for them to interact with the KCCSI.

VOLCON will overcome this hurdle by allowing potential volunteers to post both their availability and interests along with their expertise, grade level accommodation and previous volunteer experience to a web page that teachers, resource coordinators, and KCCSI administrators can then use to search for and directly contact potential volunteers. This will remove current barriers by establishing a direct path between KCCSI students and UT volunteers. As the project continues, the pool of schools and the network of volunteers encompassed in VOLCON will expand to represent all interested parties. 

If you would like more information about this project and future advocacy please contact Guinevere Shaw at gshaw2@vols.utk.edu

Guin et al

The VOLCON Team (left to right): Guinevere Shaw, Mark Christian, Kaitlyn McNabney, and Michael Ashworth

Contributor:  Guinevere Shaw