The Science Policy Initiative at UVA joins our voices with millions in sorrow and anger at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee and thousands of other Black Americans who have died as victims of police brutality.

This can be a watershed moment for racial equity in the U.S., and we encourage our members who are able to pause your regular activities to support this urgent demand for real change in policy and culture. The Science Policy Initiative at UVA (SPI) is planning the following actions to support meaningful change:

  1. Amplify policy change demands made by experienced advocates at the National, State, and local Charlottesville levels. Examples include,, and We will make opportunities to promote these policies known to our membership.
  2. Advocate for meaningful change within UVA, including by promoting specific demands by the Black Student Alliance and by working to increase awareness of the long record of racial disparities throughout UVA’s history.
  3. Increase SPI’s focus on racial equity policy. This includes raising our own awareness of how policy impacts people of color in science, and also doing more to actively identify and promote evidence-based racial equity policies.
  4. Maintain accountability. History has shown us that policy change happens during short windows when issues are receiving national attention. SPI commits to following through to help ensure that policy is implemented across domains.

Specific opportunities and events to fulfill these commitments will be planned on our Slack workspace and promoted on social media @SPIatUVA. If you would like to take part in our efforts, please contact We also highlight that SPI seeks to provide a safe space for learning about how to be an advocate, and are always learning more ourselves. We welcome all comments, questions, and suggestions about these aims.

In solidarity,

SPI leadership team


We are a student organization empowering graduate students and post-docs to be more informed and involved in science policy. Our organization seeks to (1) enhance awareness among graduate students in engineering and science disciplines about fellowship and career opportunities in science policy; (2) provide support and resources for graduate students and post-docs pursuing opportunities in science policy; (3) conduct professional development events to prepare graduate students for careers in science policy; (4) facilitate community outreach and advocacy opportunities to increase understanding of scientific research among the community and support evidence-based policies.

Current Officers

  • Co-Presidents – Sarah Goggin & Linnea Saby
  • Treasurer – Anupam Prakash
  • Communications – Ieva Juska
  • Professional Development – Robert Dyer
  • Outreach and Advocacy Co-Chairs – Sean Cuddy and Grace Bingham
  • Policy Education Chair – Lucas Freeman
  • National Coordinators – Chair Tara Illgner, Vice Chair Courtney Rogers