Early Career Policy Ambassadors Program
Our Early Career Policy Ambassadors (ECPA) Program is a one-year program that allows early career scientists to interact with leading neuroscience advocates and meet their policymakers.
The ECPA program is designed to create an extensive network of neuroscience advocates. Ambassadors gain the necessary skills to advocate for science and to encourage those in their personal networks to join the conversation.
The program kicks off at our annual Capitol Hill Day, where ambassadors engage with their members of Congress about the value of strong national investment in scientific research, including NIH and NSF. Over the course of the year, ambassadors engage in at least two additional advocacy-related activities at their home institution.
Check out a past live chat in the Neuronline Community to learn more about the ECPA program and application process.
Early Career Ambassador Program Activities
Ambassadors take a variety of actions during the program. Ambassador activities include:
- Interact with Congress: Ambassadors have held in-district meetings, lab tours, town hall meetings, and legislator visits to brain fairs and symposia.
- Communicate with Colleagues: Ambassadors have given presentations to other scientists about science policy and advocacy. Ambassadors have also shared their experiences advocating for science at SfN's Capitol Hill Day and elsewhere, and they have offered advice to help others get involved.
- Public Outreach: Many ambassadors have engaged in outreach activities. Ambassadors have also creatively used social media, petition drives, science cafes, and brain awareness events to get the word out.
Applications for the 2019 ECPA class are now open and are due on January 11, 2019. Please apply through the online portal. Applications will not be accepted via email.
Our eligibility requirements are as follows:
- You must be a member in good standing.
- You must be either:
- A graduate student, or within 10 years of having received your PhD or MD;
- An undergraduate or a post-baccalaureate currently performing neuroscience research in a lab.
- Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate applicants will have to upload a letter of recommendation from their adviser or Principle Investigator.
Participation in Various Events
- Hill Day: Ambassadors will be provided with travel, lodging, and a per diem to attend SfN Hill Day training and Hill Day in Washington, D.C. Participation in associated training and Hill Day is mandatory.
- Advocacy Activities: As part of their year-long ambassadorship, participants will engage in at least three of the events listed. These activities will tie directly into our federal research advocacy efforts:
- Policymaker Engagement: On a monthly basis, Ambassadors will be asked to engage in brief, targeted actions directed at policymakers (phone calls, social media, letter-writing, etc.) providing opportunities for coordinated advocacy. Ambassadors will receive notice of these requests for engagement from our staff via email.
- Projects: As part of their application to the program, ambassadors will propose to conduct two other projects in their home districts, such as:
- Keeping their colleagues informed on advocacy matters through a blog or newsletter.
- Hosting an advocacy event or series of events (such as discussion groups, seminars, happy hours).
- Meeting with their legislator at an in-district meeting.
- Submitting a Theme J poster on advocacy activities to the SfN Annual Meeting.
- Local Chapter Participation: Ambassadors are encouraged to partner with their local chapter or home department to support advocacy efforts at those institutions.
- Interviews: With assistance and support from our staff, applicants will also make themselves available, as appropriate, for interviews and/or author articles to be shared on Neuronline, SfN.org, and other media platforms for the Society.
- Annual Meeting: If Ambassadors attend the annual meeting, they will be asked to attend the Advocacy Reception and present a poster about their advocacy activities. Ambassadors will either present their accepted Theme J poster or provide a poster specifically for the reception.
Applicants not chosen as Ambassadors will be invited to participate in advocacy activities as members of the Early Career Policy program.
2018 Early Career Policy Ambassadors
- Catherine Braine, Columbia University
- Irene Cheng, University of Virginia
- Oluwarotimi Folorunso, The University of Texas Medical Branch
- Joyonna Gamble-George, University of Florida
- Julia Gerson, University of Michigan
- Joe Luchsinger, Vanderbilt University
- Sasha Luks-Morgan, University of Utah
- Chanel Matney, Johns Hopkins University
- Michael Nestor, Hussman Institute for Autism
- Misha Raffiee, Stanford University
- Casey Roark, Carnegie Mellon University
- Jennifer Tribble, UCLA