Past Year in Review

Here’s a snapshot of SPI’s activities and involvement during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The Michiana Science Cafe

The Michiana Science Cafe was fully virtual this past year as we continued to discuss science with our community. Example Cafe topics from the past year:

  • How to Make Maple Syrup
  • Nuclear Power in the Modern Age
  • ‘Spooky Science’ Trivia Night

Monthly Science Policy Forums

SPI continued its ongoing monthly science policy forum series during the Covid-19 pandemic. Example forum topics from the past year:

  • Museum Artifact Repatriation
  • History of Vaccine Mandates in America
  • Behind-the-Scenes of Recycling Plants
  • Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative’s Country Index

Science Kits for Local Students

SPI launched a Science Kit program for local-area students and completed two rounds of the kits. Funded by groups such as the National Science Policy Network, SPI distributed these take-home science experiments to schools in St. Joseph County in December 2020 and March 2021. This project helped local students maintain a more interactive science education and gave the SPI members involved experience with community outreach.

Science Policy Memo Development

Our National Committee developed and submitted entries to two science policy memo and paper competitions hosted by the National Science Policy Network and the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. The entries focused on climate change, its impact on Indiana forestry, and how those impacts affect intersectionality. The SPI members involved gained critical experience in policy writing.

National Science Policy Network Symposium 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 NSPN Symposium was fully virtual. The theme was “Science Policy for Racial Justice: Intersecting paths towards equity in research, government and society”. Members attended important sessions and met graduate students from around the country.

Indiana Regional State Science Fair

SPI and its members volunteered at the Indiana Regional State Science Fair for another year, acting as judges and providing awards. We believe it is vital to understand the public aspect of science and to give awards to those budding scientists who appreciate the societal implications of their work.

Book Club

SPI started a science policy book club and discussion series during the 2020 winter break. Titles from the past year include Code Girls and Merchants of Doubt.