Who are we?

Washington University ProSPER (Promoting Science Policy, Education, and Research) is a graduate student organization that helps students explore issues in science policy, advocacy, communication, and outreach. Our mission is to provide trainees with opportunities to apply for fellowships, gain experience planning events, and learn about alternative career options from professionals who work in science policy and communication.

Policy and Advocacy

ProSPER provides students opportunities to discuss science and evidence-based policy with peers and legislators. We hold policy forums, meet with local legislators, and partner with the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement to organize voter registration drives. ProSPER funds travel to Washington, D.C. on National Science Policy Group’s Congressional Visit Day so students may meet with their legislators and advocate for science research.

Science Communication

ProSPER has many resources for students to develop their science communication skills. On our blog (this website), members write about science, research, and policy, which teaches members how to discuss science with the general public. We also host the St. Louis Science Communication Workshop with St. Louis University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. This workshop covers topics including science writing, social media, and podcasting.

Alternative Career Development

ProSPER also provides professional development opportunities for students interested in non-academic careers, including science writing, advocacy, and industry. We sponsor on-site visits to career locations outside of academia. Previous visits have included the St. Louis Science Center and the Cortex Innovation Community. ProSPER also organizes the annual Early Career Transition Gala that lets current students meet recent graduates in a variety of career paths.

Public Outreach

ProSPER members engage with the public via roundtables and forums. Twice a year, ProSPER hosts a panel of experts in a bioethics roundtable event to discuss a prominent issue with the public. Previous topics include vaccines, GMOs, and climate change. We also explore the gap between research and technology in the annual “Where’s my Jetpack?” seminar. In this seminar, we discuss why it takes so long for basic science to reach consumers.

Have your own ideas?

Come to the next ProSPER meeting and pitch your idea for an event!