Patrick Shirey, a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences and a GLOBES Fellow, is one of three winners of the 2010 Graduate Student Policy Award from the Ecological Society of America. The award includes a trip to Washington, DC in April where Shirey will participate in two days of science policy activities including meetings with congressional offices.
Shirey’s research focuses on stream and river ecology, as well as natural resources policy. Shirey, who also holds a law degree, points out that federally-funded science helps leverage support from private industry: “Research in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame provides an excellent example of the importance of federal investment in fundamental ecological research. Federal funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal agencies have encouraged private support for research in our department from The Nature Conservancy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Frank Eck Family, and the Ford Family.” Shirey holds a Fellowship from NSF’s Global Linkages of Biology, the Environment, and Society program. His policy experience includes internships with Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Forestry and Bureau of Parks and Shirey has also participated in an array of policy and communications training workshops.
The ESA Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways the Society works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The Society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year. ESA graduate student members also may run—through ESA’s Student Section—to serve on several ESA standing committees, including the Public Affairs Committee, which works closely with ESA’s Washington, DC-based Public Affairs Office and focuses on activities to connect ecological science and scientists with policymakers and the media.
Press release from the Ecological Society of America on the policy award: