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Student perspectives What is not to love about Congressional Visits Day? By Tricia L. Freshour Congressional Visits Day (CVD), organized each year by the Material Advantage Student Program, took place April 7–8, 2014, in Washington, D.C. CVD is a unique opportunity for materials science and engineering students to advocate for long-term funding for science, engineering, and technology Congressional Visits Day 2014 students and faculty in Washington, D.C. through meetings with Congressional decision makers. Thirtyfive students and faculty from 11 universities attended this year’s event. The CVD experience began with an opening reception on Monday, April 7, that included talks to help prepare students for their visits: • “The 2015 Budget: Science, Technology, and Innovation for Opportunity and Growth,” by Kei Koizumi, assistant director for R&D, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; • “Effective Communication with Hill Staff,” by Deborah Koolbeck; and • “Energy Policy and Life on the Hill,” by Megan Brewster, 2013–2014 MRS/TMS/AAAS Congressional fellow, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. David Bahr from Purdue University and Iver Anderson from Ames National Laboratory and Iowa State University led an active session during which students collaborated to arrange visits with their Representatives and Senators on Tuesday, April 8. Students shared their experiences at a concluding event at a local club. Students remarked: • “With this being my first CVD, I didn’t really know what to expect, but with the support and advice, it went great! I thought the three speakers we had on Monday provided us with great information and great tips for talking with the Congress people and their staff. I felt like the people we talked to already seemed to have support for our cause so this made talking easier, and we could thank them and show our appreciation. I thought the trip was a great experience and will mostly likely be participating in the future.”—David Beam, Washington State University • “This Material Advantage CVD provided a wonderful opportunity to visit our nation’s Capitol and speak with the offices of our Senators and Representatives. It was so exciting to share my experiences with them and hopefully remind them why science education and funding is so important. This was also a great way to meet students from other universities who are interested in science policy. I will definitely be back for next year’s event!”—Kelly Kranjc, Washington University in St. Louis • “I had a great experience during CVD. I look forward to participating in it again and bringing a bigger contingent from Georgia Tech! I think the visits went well, and I definitely have a better appreciation for how busy it is in the Congressional offices. I think it was a good idea to preface our visits with realistic expectations about the possibility of quick visits, visits in the hallway, and people checking their phones. I was able to meet with the legislative staff of both Georgia Senators and two Georgia Representatives. All of the people I met with were receptive to my thoughts and proactively asked me to keep in touch if I wanted to reach Credit: ACerS out to the office again.”—Brian Doyle, Georgia Institute of Technology • “I talked to officials for both Indiana Senators and both were very responsive to our stories about how governmental support of research has affected us. I love the way you set up the program: A little bit of learning about the way the system works on Monday night, then having some time to sight-see in between talking to Senator and Representative offices. I can’t wait to hopefully be involved next year!”—Jasmine Duvall, Purdue University • “I truly enjoyed this experience and will treasure it forever. It was a privilege to participate in CVD and I have already encouraged several of my colleagues here at UCSB to consider attending next year.”—Kaylan Wessels, University of California, Santa Barbara The partner societies in the Material Advantage Student Program are The American Ceramic Society, Association for Iron & Steel Technology, ASM International, and The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society. Material Advantage would like to extend a special thank you to David Bahr of Purdue University and Iver Anderson of Ames National Laboratory and Iowa State University for their continued support and dedication to CVD. Tricia Freshour is the ACerS liaison to the Material Advantage Student Program. n 28 www.ceramics.org | American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 93, No. 5


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