Welcome back events for the 2015/2016 School year!

FOSEP Welcome / Happy Hour – Wednesday October 7th 5:00-7:00 PM at the College Inn Pub

We wanted to welcome back members to the 2015 / 2016 school year!  FOSEP will provide food (you need to provide your own drinks). The Happy Hour will be used to meet and greet other members, and  discuss plans for the his year.  We will discuss the story that made the national news about Seattle’s vaccination rates. Many of us want to work on our communication.  As scientists, we want to just give people the facts and statistics about vaccines, but should remember that the responses people have to vaccinations are emotional.  Sometimes we think giving facts will convince them to change their minds, but minds, but maybe it is better to pay attention to emotional responses in our communications, as this story illustrates.

Please fill out this survey so we can get an idea of what subjects you want us to cover this year, and so that we can know if you’re planning on coming to the Happy Hour. The next discussion meetings will be Wednesdays November 4th and December 2nd. 

“Thought Experiments” – A Festival of Short Plays About Genetics and Synthetic Biology at Infinity Box TheaterThurs October 15th 5:30 – 9:00 PM and Friday Oct 16th, 17th 7:30 -9:30 PM (also Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:00 PM) at the Ethnic Cultural Theater

Thought Experiments Image

Promotional Image from “Thought Experiments” for the Infinity Box Theater

FOSEP is hosting a Happy Hour with Infinity Box Oct 15th at the District Lounge at 5:30 PM, and will help lead post-play discussion on October 16th –  come either day!

This year, the Infinity Box Theater will be presenting a festival  of original short plays examining how current developments in that field may impact how we answer the question of what it means to be human. They paired up scientists working in genetics and synthetic biology with local Seattle playwrights. Their collaborations have led to the creation of four intriguing short plays, each asking the question: “How might current and possible future innovations in the fields of genetics and synthetic biology change what it means to be human?

Each evening includes staged readings of the plays, followed by a scientist-led conversation, where the audience can explore the questions and issues raised by the plays.  Buy tickets here.  Student tickets are only $5!  You can also get them at the door if you want to avoid the service charge.

FOSEP and Infinity Box are officially teaming up in two ways –
1) FOSEP is hosting a pre-plays Happy Hour Thursday October 15th at the District Lounge in the Hotel DECA at 5:30 PM.  FOSEP will provide food.
2) FOSEP leaders will help lead the post-plays discussion Friday October 16th, most likely at the Pub at The College Inn.

Brandon Peecock, from the Young Naturalists was a great host for the 1000 Word Event this year.

Third Annual 1000 Word Event, 2015

FOSEP, the Young Naturalist’s Society, and the Burke Museum presented the 1000 word event on April 9th.  Brandon Peecock (pictured above) from the Young Naturalists did a great job of hosting.  Photograph copyright Sean Gilliland.

Audience members enjoying the event. © Sean Gilliland | www.loveisadventure.com

Audience members enjoying the event. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

(I definitely need to get better at getting blog posts up more in a more timely fashion!  I apologize to those who participated on the amount of time this took).  That said, the event was a great success!

We used little chips to vote during the event. © Sean Gilliland | www.loveisadventure.com

We used little chips to vote during the event. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

We had about 50 attendees, even with the changes this year to having a small fee for drinks. There were 21 people who entered, and 16 that competed.  This year, winners were chosen by popular vote.

Each entrant had a bag which participants put their chips into.

Each entrant had a bag which participants put their chips into. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

The winners of the competition were: Dave Slager (Biology) in first place, Jennifer Day (Biology) in second place, and Jen Whiting (Pharmacology) in third place.  Thanks to all who chose to compete.  We look forward to seeing you next year.

FOSEP leaders helped entrants register during the event. © Sean Gilliland | www.loveisadventure.com

FOSEP leaders helped entrants register during the event. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

See the winning entries after the jump – the 1000 word description is followed by the regular description.

Continue reading

FASEB Report: Sustaining Discovery in Biological and Medical Sciences

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has released a new report, Sustaining Discovery in Biological and Medical Sciences: A Framework for Discussion, detailing FASEB’s most recent analysis of the problems/issues facing the biomedical research enterprise.

From the executive summary: “FASEB….is concerned about the future of biological and medical research. Inconsistent investment policies, growing demands for research funding, and outdated policies are jeopardizing current and future progress in this important area of research. This is a serious problem for the nation, and requires immediate attention and action.”

Options for mitigating the multitude of problems discussed in the FASEB report include: 1: Maximize research funding; 2: Optimize funding mechanisms; and 3: Improve workforce utilization and training.

ScienceInsider writes, “Although it echoes previous reports, FASEB’s analysis breaks new ground for the society because it provides “a comprehensive view of the problem and recognizes that an increase in funding is not the way out of this dilemma,” says Howard Garrison, director of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs. He said FASEB’s board now hopes to collect feedback from its membership.”

FOSEP Welcome Back Happy Hour is Oct. 1st

Welcome back students, faculty, and staff to University of Washington and happy fall everyone! The FOSEP leaders are feeling refreshed after a wonderful summer break and can’t wait to get started with the new school year. We have some really exciting events planned for the upcoming year and hope you can join us as we promote scientific discussions across disciplines and varying levels of expertise.

Please join us on Tuesday October 1st, 2014 at the College Inn (in the back room) at 5:30pm. We will be reconnecting, sharing ideas, and learning about FOSEP and this year’s leaders and exciting upcoming events (snacks will be provided). We will also be discussing the Ebola outbreak, the way the media often focuses on American patients, and also the recent fearful media stories about the virus itself.  Please RSVP here.


Also note: Upcoming monthly FOSEP Discussion Meetings

Save the Date – Thursday October 16th and Thursday November 20th.
We will be hosting regular discussion meetings on the intersect of science and policy and the place we have as grad students in it.  We meet every third Thursday, 5:30-7:30 PM.  The location and topics will be announced closer to the date of our discussions.  Possible topics include the death penalty, coal trains, and the use of drones. 

September Science Policy Events from the Union of Concerned Scientists

From the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Science Network Workshop Series:

101: Science & Policy Change: Using your expertise to influence the policy making process

Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 3:00 p.m. EDT

Presenters: Kate Cell, Senior Outreach Coordinator, UCS Climate and Energy Program; Dr. Dave Cooke, Vehicles Analyst, UCS Clean Vehicles Program; Dr. Daniel Pomeroy, AGU Congressional Science Fellow, Office of Senator Edward Markey

In today’s partisan political climate and noisy media landscape, science doesn’t always get an equal seat at the table in the policy making process. But for experts who want to make a difference on the issues they care about, there are opportunities to be a voice of influence and reason at all levels of policy making. This webinar is a guide for scientists and other experts who are interested in learning how they can use their expertise to make an impact on the policy process at the local, state, or national level. We will cover an approach to the theory of social change as it relates to the policy process, what it takes to create policy opportunities and how to identify them, strategies for working with coalitions, and advice on how to be a resource for decision makers. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions to experts who have been involved in every step of the process, from organizing to coalition-building to advising a legislator.


ECS: So You Want to Work in Science Policy: What the experts wish they knew when they were students

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3:00 p.m. EDT

Presenters: Christopher Boniface, UCS National Advisory Board member and molecular biologist; Emily Boniface, UCS National Advisory Board member and cell and molecular biologist; Andrew Rosenberg, Director, the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS

Whether you’re a grad student, post-doc, or early career scientist, if you’re interested in a career at the nexus of science and policy, it may be hard to know where to look for guidance. Join us for a Google+ Hangout with three scientists who have been in your shoes. Our experts will share tips on how to make the most of the resources that are available to you, and personal stories about what they wish they knew when they were finishing their degrees. During this interactive Hangout you’ll have plenty of time to ask your questions about building your network, finding a mentor, and where to look for resources and guidance as you take the next step in your career.