New NSPN Committees Recruit, Train, and Engage Members

The National Science Policy Network has several new committees that are starting out this year. The Chairs of these new committees each shared what members should expect and what new projects they’re excited to bring to life.


The Advocacy Committee encourages NSPN and its members to be active participants in the policy process and interact with all those affected by it. The committee translates words into actions by collaborating with grassroots organizations, contributing to public comments, and promoting on-the-ground local work. The committee also leverages NSPN's status as a national nonprofit to bolster messages. Aside from tangible actions, the committee educates members on careers in advocacy, methods to connect stakeholders, and technical skills like grant writing.

For more information, contact Kavi Chintam at

Chapter Support

The Chapter Support Committee exists to support the long-term impact and sustainability of all NSPN chapters throughout the country. Our goal is to meet chapters and those who lead them where they are, tailoring our programming to provide training, peer support, and coaching that’s valuable to chapters whether they’re big or small, brand new or well-established.

To achieve these goals, we host social events to help chapter leaders get to know each other, such as happy hours. We also provide on-demand coaching calls with individual chapters to give dedicated brainstorming and troubleshooting support. We also orchestrate training opportunities for chapter leaders to teach them general leadership skills like time management and how to lead teams, as well as on more targeted chapter development topics like recruiting new members, managing leadership transitions, developing future leaders, and building a sense of community.

For more information, contact Erin Reagan at

Membership Engagement (ME)

The Member Engagement Committee formed this year when the former Communications Committee split into ME and PEC. ME is all about celebrating and connecting NPSN-ers. We want to highlight all the great work that every person and chapter involved with NSPN has put together and make sure every project has its maximum impact. We write blog and newsletter spotlights and run the virtual science policy happy hours with ESEP, which lets us have a peek into what every member and committee is up to. As one of the new committees, there is a lot of space to bring new projects to the table to improve members’ experiences in NSPN.

ME is already initiating collaboration with several other committees to kickstart new ideas. Some of our early priorities for new projects include developing an alumni database and resource for current student members to use to network and build mentorship relationships and using this resource to develop a new coffee chat series. We’re also working on interactive networking and social campaigns to bring chapters and hubs closer throughout the year and developing spaces for developing policy ideas related to specific interests (e.g., health disparities or energy resilience). If you’re interested in taking charge on a new initiative, be sure to check us out at our November meeting, jointly with Public Engagement & Communications!

For more information, contact Sindhu Nathan at

Professional Development (PD)

The Professional Development Committee coordinates educational events, networking, and experiential learning opportunities to help members identify and prepare for science policy careers and professional roles. We are directing our initial efforts toward: 1) organizing fireside chats between NSPN members and professionals working in various science policy settings (e.g., nonprofits, think tanks, federal/state government jobs, and science policy internships/fellowships), 2) developing monthly professional development challenges to help members sustain their professional growth over time, and 3) brainstorming for a spring professional development week featuring workshops on policy, job search, and interpersonal skills. Members of our committee can gain experience in event planning, networking, and collaborating across NSPN committees and hubs to share professional development opportunities with the network, among others. Interested members will also have opportunities to manage a project of their choosing to build their leadership skills and boost their professional development.

For more information, contact Rachel Haake at

Public Engagement & Communications (PEC)

The Public Engagement & Communications Committee formed this year when the former Communications Committee split into ME and PEC. PEC publicizes NSPN news and organizes science communication trainings and experiential learning opportunities for NSPN members. The committee leads programs such as the NSPN blog and SciPolBites series, multimedia projects including 100 Paths to Policy, and a science communication training series in partnership with other science communication organizations. We also collaborate with other NSPN committees and programs to lead projects such as the op-ed accelerator (with Advocacy) and the Wikipedia edit-a-thon series, and we work with other policy organizations on promotional materials such as press releases for joint projects (e.g., the Journal of Science Policy & Governance). Members of our committee can build skills in writing, interviewing/reporting, graphic design, and event planning. There are also opportunities for interested committee members to manage one of these projects and build their leadership skills.

For more information, contact Meredith Schmehl at

Recruiting, Onboarding, and Early Retention (ROAR)

The Recruiting, Onboarding, and Early Retention (ROAR) Committee aims to enhance the early member experience for new NSPN members and engage the next generation of science policy professionals by strengthening recruitment and onboarding efforts with the aim of increasing early member retention. The ROAR Committee proactively recruits potential science policy professionals from diverse backgrounds, education levels, and experiences. This committee informs and guides new NSPN members on how to maximize their membership through the many professional development, networking, and grant programs available to NSPN members. This year, ROAR is working to develop an onboarding one-pager and video, chapter support presentations, new member orientations, and NSPN information sessions. By participating in our committee, members can develop skills in recruitment, writing, event planning, collaboration, graphic design, and leadership by contributing to projects under the ROAR umbrella.

For more information, contact Erin Saybolt at

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