Water Institute Graduate Fellow Jacy Hyde is one of the five founding members of a student organization called Emerging Leaders in Science Policy and Advocacy (ELISPA).

ELISPA had its beginnings in the spring of 2018, when each of the five founding members had experienced, in various ways, the world of science policy in Washington, D.C. ELISPA brings together a diverse group of interdisciplinary scientists with the goal of improving the capacity of scientists to engage in public policies that impact our community. The group aims to foster constructive informed discussions about science policy, participate in and promote advocacy for evidence-based policy, and enhance public scientific literacy and engagement through science communication.  

Water is a policy issue,” Jacy said, “and ELISPA provides a venue for students to learn and practice the skills that complement the Water Institute’s mission of building partnerships and implementing innovative interdisciplinary programs.”  ELISPA members will gain practical, non-academic skills such as policy writing and analysis, the application of research into policy solutions, interdisciplinary collaboration on non-research activities, and the ability to interact with and present arguments to decision-makers. Many of these skills are extremely difficult to obtain simply though coursework or research related activities but will provide an avenue for success for students wishing to see their own research applied in water management.   

While ELISPA is a new organization, its membership has expanded to include students from departments across the university, unified by their interest in advancing science-based policy.

ELISPA is hosting a policy memo writing competition!
During the spring of 2019, members of ELISPA will form groups of 2-3 people and write a 1-2 page memo addressed to Florida lawmakers concerning a science policy topic relevant to Florida. In early April, a panel of expert judges will select a winning memo and the winning team will be awarded up to $675 per person to travel to a science policy or communication related event. They will present their memos to Florida lawmakers as a group sometime in the summer.
To join ELISPA, please attend a meeting every other Tuesday at 5pm in Bartram Hall 211, starting on Jan 29th!
For more information about ELISPA, or to join the list serve, email elsipa.uf@gmail.com, or check the Facebook page here!