Standing Up for STEM
Published March 08, 2018
The STEM community has traditionally been reluctant to engage in activism because our professional training—and in many cases our institutional cultures—predispose us to believe that the facts speak for themselves. But in this era of “fake news” and science denialism, sometimes the failure to raise our voice on key issues can allow misinformation and false narratives to flourish. If you are passionate, as we are, about issues like funding for basic research, science-based policy-making, and diversity in STEM, then we encourage you to use your voice to make a difference! Below, we’ve put together some resources that could help you stand up for STEM.
March for the Cause
Sometimes showing that there’s a critical mass of support for an issue is one of the best ways to draw attention to it. The 2017 March for Science did just that, bringing together science students, professionals, and supporters together by the thousands in over 600 cities around the world.
We’re proud to once again be a partner for the March and encourage our community to consider participating. Learn more about the 2018 March for Science here.
Connect with Like-Minded People
Many people who feel passionate about an issue make use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to build connections with others who share their beliefs. If you want to advocate for a particular issue, consider building a community of interest around that issue by creating a Facebook Group, such as the Academy’s March for Science group.
To create a Facebook group: log in to Facebook, visit the “Groups” page, and click the “Create Group” button. You’ll be asked to give the group a name and invite a few friends to get the group started. Once it’s up and running, Facebook Groups can provide members with a forum to discuss the issues you care about and decide on what next steps you want to take.
Many other social platforms offer ways for you to create groups, lists, or discussions with other users.
Share Your Perspective
If you are impacted by an issue, sharing your personal story can be a powerful way to demonstrate why the issue matters, and can offer a unique perspective that the public may not have heard before. Whether it’s a post on your website or social media, a letter to your local representatives, or an OpEd or Letter to the Editor in a newspaper, your unique voice can be an important tool for raising awareness.
Here are some examples of how the Academy has shared our perspective on issues important to us:
- “STEM Education in Idaho” – a Letter to the Editor of The New York Times, February 16, 2018
- “The Trump administration’s politicization of science” – a Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post, January, 12, 2018.
- “Climate change is misrepresented and misunderstood” – a Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post, March 31, 2017.
- “An Urgent Message for Academy Members” – a public letter from the Academy’s President & CEO regarding President Trump's 2017 Executive Order on Immigration, January 31, 2017.
Look for Resources from Like-Minded Groups
Groups with advocacy at their core often have lots of resources to help you take action. For instance, the organizers of the March for Science have put together a range of resources and tools that will help you do everything from contacting your local political representatives to planning your own events. Take a moment to review their resources here. You might even get some ideas to create resources of your own!