AAAS’ Local Science Engagement Network has announced its inaugural class of six LSEN Liaisons, who will build networks in four states and one U.S. territory that will bring together and mobilize scientists and engineers interested in science engagement and policy.
The Liaisons will foster engagement with communities and local leaders to elevate and build trust in science and provide scientific evidence to inform decision-making to address local concerns.
The 2023 LSEN Liaisons are:
- Greer Arthur, Ph.D., research director at the North Carolina Collaboratory.
- Faith M. Bowman, doctoral candidate in the Summers-Holland Lab in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Utah.
- Natasha DeLeón-Rodríguez, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus.
- Kate Dickerson, executive director of the Maine Discovery Museum.
- Brooke Eastman, Ph.D., science policy research fellow at the Bridge Initiative for Science & Technology Policy, Leadership, and Communications at West Virginia University.
- Yuhan “Douglas” Rao, Ph.D., research scientist at North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies at North Carolina State University.
Liaisons, who must be working in science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine (STEMM) but can be at any career stage, bring to LSEN a broad range of experiences and perspectives. Their ranks include research scientists, science outreach professionals and science policy specialists, but they are united by the commitment to community engagement they bring to LSEN.
“We are thrilled with the strong interest in LSEN from the STEMM community and are so excited to be working with our first cohort of Liaisons,” says Dan Barry, associate director of LSEN. “We look forward to supporting this diverse group’s positive energy and eagerness to elevate the visibility of and trust in science in their communities.”
The inaugural class of LSEN Liaisons marks a new chapter for LSEN, which launched as a pilot in 2019 to bring scientific knowledge to address and strengthen solutions to local and statewide challenges by building and mobilizing communities of scientists. Key learnings from the pilot helped shape the new direction for LSEN, which led to a nationwide search for scientists and engineers who will work with AAAS to set up local and regional networks in their communities.
Liaisons will spend the summer receiving training from AAAS and other experts on subjects such as science communication, network leadership and civic engagement. Following this intensive training, Liaisons will begin working in their communities to foster, equip and activate networks of scientists. These networks will in turn engage with community leaders, activate and train other scientists, solve complex, real-world problems with science, and conduct grassroots advocacy – all efforts that will bolster their work as leaders using science to solve local problems.
While first LSEN networks will be built in the places the inaugural class of Liaisons call home – North Carolina, Maine, Utah, Puerto Rico and West Virginia – anyone interested in taking part, regardless of location, can sign up to learn more about joining a forthcoming LSEN network or join the LSEN Community forum.