Making Your Case to Congress

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About the workshop:

Learn to speak to a very specialized audience—members of Congress and their staff. They control billions of dollars for scientific research, yet as a group know very little about how science works. This online policy workshop will be most useful for scientists and administrators who go to Capitol Hill on organized “lobby days” or who have other occasion to visit a Congressional office in an official capacity. Participants will learn what members care about, how they think, and the keys to an effective presentation. Participants will use their JAM tool to develop talking points and strategy for the meeting. Those who have had Capitol Hill meetings will be invited to share their experiences. In order to make this workshop more worthwhile, participants will be expected to prepare a brief 3-minute pitch for an interactive role play with the instructor, who is a former staff member in the US Senate. Those who anticipate making a Congressional visit soon may use the role play to practice for the meeting. 

Objectives:
  • Participants will gain a clearer understanding of what to expect from a visit to a Congressional office and what is expected from them.
  • They will also get to experience, through role-play, some of the unexpected difficulties that may arise during a congressional meeting and how to respond to them.
Fall 2019 Sessions:

Space for this online workshop is limited. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. We will close applications for each session as they become filled. 

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Jay Branegan

Instructor

Jay Branegan brings years of journalism experience, along with a second career as a congressional staffer and a love of science, to his role as an Alda-certified instructor. Jay’s Alda Center workshops focus on communicating to federal policy makers. He majored in physics and philosophy at Cornell, where he had a seminar with Carl Sagan, the patron saint of science communication. Jay’s many years in Washington convinced him that it’s important – and difficult – for scientists to explain the significance of their work to busy legislators, and he enjoys the challenge of helping scientists navigate the corridors of Capitol Hill.