Author Archives: fosepweb12

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. 


FOSEP/GPSS Panel Discussion: Washington I-522: Labeling Genetically Modified Foods: Should you be concerned?

Should You be Concerned?On Monday October 28th from 6-7 PM FOSEP and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) will be co-hosting a panel discussion about GM Foods, and the possibility of labeling GM products.  Washington voters will be deciding on labeling through Initiative 522 the next week, November 5th.

Each panelist will have an opportunity to present, then the audience will have a chance to ask questions and interact with the panelists.

The panel will be held on the University of Washington Campus at the Husky Union Building, Room 322.

Panelists will include

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New Science Advocacy Opportunity from Research!America

Research!America recently announced their Inaugural Advocacy Academy. This opportunity is open to postdoctoral fellows and is designed to expose early career scientists to science advocacy,  outreach, and policy and includes a paid trip to Washington DC! I have participated in other advocacy trainings (through ASBMB and ASPET – both of these are open to graduate students also) and have found the experience both rewarding and educational. While we all may rather stay in the research lab conducting experiments, I believe it is our duty as scientists to educate the public and our elected officials as to issues involving science education, funding, policy etc.

Research!America’s announcements is as follows:

Research!America is pleased to announce an exciting new program to introduce and engage early-career scientists in research advocacy and science policy. The 2013 Research!America Advocacy Academy is a unique opportunity for postdoctoral fellows in the health and biomedical sciences to learn about how to best incorporate advocacy and effective communications into their role as a scientist.

The 2013 class of up to 12 Research!America advocates will participate in a two-day Washington, DC, program from September 11-12, 2013. Participants will learn about the federal budget and appropriations process, tools for effective science communication and outreach as well as how to engage with elected representatives on scientific and research issues. The program includes visiting Capitol Hill to meet with policy makers and congressional staff members, providing participants with a first-hand experience advocating for health research. Rounding out this unique Washington experience, participants will attend Research!America’s National Health Research Forum where top leaders in government, industry, academia and patient organizations engage in moderated conversations on issues of importance to the research ecosystem.

Upon completion of the program, participants will become Science Advocates for Research!America. Advocates will remain engaged with Research!America staff, receive ongoing action alerts and learn about ways to involve their home institution’s research community in effective science advocacy.

All travel expenses (transportation, lodging and meals) will be provided and arranged by Research!America through an educational grant provided by Pfizer. This year’s program is limited to 12 exceptional postdoctoral researchers with a dedicated interest in becoming active advocates for science.

Program overview

Tuesday, September 10, 2013: Evening arrivals; hotel accommodations provided

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: Advocacy Academy Program

  • Policy & legislative overview
  • Advocating for science on Capitol Hill
  • Effective science communication & engagement with the media
  • Preparing for meetings with policy makers
  • Career Enhancement: Roundtable discussion with scientific journal editors
  • Reception and dinner with Research!America Board members and leaders

Thursday, September 12, 2013: Research!America Advocacy Day

  • Meet with Members of Congress and/or staff on Capitol Hill Attend Research!America’s National Health Research Forum
  • Late afternoon departures


    You must have completed your MD, PhD or equivalent doctoral degree and currently hold an appointment as a postdoctoral research fellow at one of Research!America’s member organizations (please click here for a list of eligible academic universities, hospitals, and independent research institutes).

    Application Process

    Application Deadline: July 3, 2013, 5 p.m. EDT

    Please submit the following items to with the subject line ‘Advocacy Academy Application – Your Name.’ All materials must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on July 3, 2013.

    • A curriculum vitae/resume (2 pg. maximum)
    • A statement of interest in the program, which includes your desire to be involved in science policy and advocacy activities, and a summary of relevant activities or employment outside of the classroom or laboratory (1 pg. maximum).
    • A letter of recommendation from your current Principal Investigator or research leader.

    For any questions or more information on the program, please contact Adam M. Katz, Policy and Advocacy Specialist

    A selection committee will review submissions and extend invitations to 12 exceptional candidates. If accepted, participants are expected to obtain appropriate authorization to travel to Washington and participate in the program. Research!America will coordinate all travel arrangements with participants.

Inaugural FOSEP 1000 Word Challenge Was a Great Success!

Last Friday the Burke Museum hosted FOSEP’s inaugural 1000 Word Challenge with fantastic results. Just under 200 people were in attendance, and the grand prize winner by Yasmeen Hussain included, “Some man things are better at listening than others. I want to know if the man things that are better at listening are also better at making babies.”

The 1000 Word (or ten hundred word to be exact) Challenge was born out of the XKCD comic strip Up Goer Fivea very successful attempt at using only the 1000 most common words to describe the blueprints of the NASA rocket Saturn V. Geneticist Theo Sanderson created a text editor that tells if each word typed is one of the 1000 most common words (and thus allowable), and soon scientists around the world were challenging each other to describe their own research using only these 1000 words. The Burke Museum was already planning an end-of-the-quarter happy hour and invited FOSEP to hold their 1000 Word Challenge during the event.

FOSEP received almost 40 individual entries from across the campus, from researchers in atmospheric science to biology, from anthropology to applied materials science. David Domke (professor and acting chair for the Department of Communication at the University of Washington (UW)), Alaina Smith (Director of External Affairs at the Burke) and Andrea Cohen (Museology Program Assistant at the Burke) served as the judges for the event.

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The DoD and the Genome

As a new member of FOSEP, I’ve been thinking about writing about this topic for awhile, but felt nervous about getting my feet wet with the blog.  I’m sorry if this rambles a little.

I’m a graduate student in Public Health Genetics, and am interested in the ways information about our genome can be used to improve health, and how the information is understood (or not) by our society.  I am particularly interested in working with those who have decided to Serve in the military (in some ways, we could talk about them as the other 1% of those who consistently serve- see , so I became especially intrigued when colleagues pointed out a 2010 report produced by the JASONs, a group of scientists that advise the Department of Defense, or DoD, (see for unclassified studies) about how / if Genetic Databases could be used by the DoD called the $100 Genome: Implications for the DoD: ( and a Nature Reviews Genetics Report in Response to it (   The report focuses on how genome sequencing, once cost prohibitive, is reaching the point where it is more expensive to store and analyze the information than to obtain it.

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GPSS is looking for students to give testimonials!

A message from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate at UW:

Hello FOSEP Members,

GPSS Vice President Melanie Mayock is hard at work speaking with legislators about the importance of increasing revenue and ending budget cuts so that we can halt the continual increases in our tuition rates — and WE can help! The Government Relations Committee is calling YOU to work with us in our efforts of gathering photographic and video testimonials.  Having these particular testimonials is important because they demonstrate to the legislature the huge impact that budget cuts and increased tuition is having on graduate and professional students here at the University of Washington.  

We as senators and committee members have a duty to the GPSS to get these important messages to the legislature.  Contact Kimberly Schertz at to get involved.