CSTPR Noontime Seminar
AAAS "Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering" Workshop Student Competition Panel Discussion
Abby Benson, University of Colorado AeroSpace Ventures
and past competition winners, Nicholas Valcourt, Angela Boag, and Sarah Welsh-Huggins
Please join us for a panel discussion including three previous winners of the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop Student Competition. They will describe their experiences at the workshop and answer your questions about the program.
About the Program: For the third year CSTPR organized a competition to select two University of Colorado Boulder students to attend the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop in April. Students attending the three-and-a-half day program in Washington, DC, learn about the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations processes, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement. In addition, students participate in interactive seminars about policy-making and communication. The day after the workshop, students will form teams and conduct meetings with their elected Members of Congress and congressional staff members, putting into practice what they have learned. The competition is supported by the University of Colorado Graduate School and Center for STEM Learning.
Cosponsored by the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy
Abby Benson currently serves as Executive Director of the AeroSpace Ventures (ASV) initiative at the University of Colorado Boulder. In this role, she provides strategic direction and leadership for ASV, a collaborative entity that brings together faculty, students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry and government partners to provide hands-on education experiences for next generation aerospace leaders, support discovery of fundamental breakthroughs, pioneer new technologies, and incubate space innovation. Abby previously served as Associate Vice President of Government Relations at the University of Colorado. In this role, Abby ensures the flow of information between the university and relevant stakeholders in Colorado and Washington, DC, and advocates for increased support of CU priorities, including research and higher education funding and policies, at both the state and federal levels. Abby earned a BS in geology and geophysics from Yale University; earned a MS and MEng in transportation and logistics from MIT; and served as a Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2009.
Nicholas Valcourt is a researcher and engineer living in Boulder, CO. He studies infrastructure in developing communities through civil systems analysis at the University of Colorado Boulder where he works very closely supporting the Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities. Nicholas has previously consulted non-profit organizations working on water and sanitation projects in Peru, Haiti & Morocco. He is also one of the principal organizers of the Colorado WASH Symposium and EDC Speaker Series at CU Boulder.
Angela E. Boag is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder investigating the relationships between climate change, forest management and land ownership. She has a Master’s in Forestry from the University of British Columbia and worked for environmental advocacy organizations before returning to graduate school. Now a member of the Communities and Forests in Oregon (CAFOR) research project led by Dr. Joel Hartter, Angela is studying how changing climate and wildfire regimes impact forest resilience, as well as how private forest owners adapt to these changing conditions. She is passionate about linking social and biophysical research to solve complex problems, and advocates for policies that advance environmental sustainability.
Sarah Welsh-Huggins is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Civil Systems program within the Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. Her doctoral research assesses the economic and environmental life-cycle tradeoffs that arise from designing buildings to be both sustainable and hazard-resilient. At CU Boulder, Sarah has also completed a graduate certificate in Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC). Her EDC fieldwork in northeast India in 2014 led her to pursue a M.S. in Structural Engineering, consecutive to her Ph.D. studies, to investigate the seismic risk of hillside buildings in the Indian state of Mizoram. She is the current Co-President of CU Boulder’s student chapter of the national Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, which supports multi-disciplinary research and practice to reduce global earthquake risk. In 2012, Sarah earned a dual B.S./B.A. in Civil Engineering and International Studies from Lafayette College. Post-graduate school, her professional goal is to lead the creation of new approaches for holistic community and urban planning by improving communication channels between citizens, scientists, engineers, and policymakers. She seeks to promote sustainable community development through interdisciplinary solutions that protect natural resources, mitigate natural hazard risk, and ensure a safe and equitable future for generations to come.