From abalone to advocacy

Three months ago, as I stood on the edge of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., I allowed myself a few moments to appreciate what I was about to do. With a few deep breaths, I reminded myself that I was probably facing an uphill battle; took one last look at the Capitol; and, with three other graduate students, began a whirlwind tour of 12 congressional offices to push for policies to address climate change.

A year ago, I would have laughed at the suggestion that I meet with my elected representatives, whose names I certainly could not have provided. My academic goals were focused and familiar: Finish my Ph.D. studying abalone disease, do a postdoc, and become a professor at a research-intensive university. I was exploring climate change advocacy through a pilot program for graduate students, which involved seminars and a summer internship, but I considered this “extra,” not a core part of my work.

Read more in Science Magazine.