Reflections on My Trek to Capitol Hill

Congressional Visits Day

Reflections on My Trek to Capitol Hill

EliseAnne C. Koskelo, SPS Member, Pomona College

Although many of my meetings were cancelled due to snow, one of my favorite parts of the trip was being proactive and running from senate office to senate office, making impromptu pitches for renewable energy and diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math. I was fortunate to speak with the chiefs of staff for senators Heinrich and Udall of New Mexico (my home state). From them, I learned more about the different policies of New Mexico’s senators and found myself leaving with more faith in the future as New Mexico makes strides in solar and wind energy. I also met fellow constituents from the salmon fishing and pharmaceuticals industries. This was a heart-warming experience, as I got to share my love for my home state with fellow New Mexicans while trying to make an impact on our future.

Another perk of the program was teaming up with fellow SPS CVD participants. I found that the most successful meetings were those where we, as students, related the issues for which we were advocating back to our own experiences— whether that be learning physics in high school or conducting research at a university or a national lab. I came away from this experience with a greater understanding of policy-making as well as the different pathways in physics that lead there. I plan to focus on a career in research and teaching, but I finished CVD with a reinforced appreciation for the importance of advocacy.

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