UCI Graduate Student Advocates for Brain Science at California State Capitol

You may have seen her research on how the brain marks time in the news last week. This week, she's educating and advocating for brain science in Sacramento! Maria Montchal, UCI graduate student was one of 12 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to be invited to the California State Capitol to practice translating their research for decision makers. The event, which is attended by legislative and executive offices as well as members of the Capitol community "provides early-career scientists an excellent opportunity to present their research to a policy audience - and to highlight some of the relevant research being conducted in California," states California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) Interim Executive Director Amber Mace, Ph.D..

Assemblymember Jose Medina, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, partnered with CCST to make the event possible.  "Opening the lines of communication between California's researchers and policymakers can only help to ensure the bright future of California."

Earlier this week, Maria also participated in the Alzheimer's Association State Advocacy Day where she was able to advocate on behalf of Alzheimer’s disease research and the need for a concerted effort and focused resources to find solutions for this insidious disease.

Assemblymember Jose Medina with the 2019 CCST Science Translators and CCST’s Brie Lindsey. Photo by Will Bucquoy courtesy of CCST
Assemblymember Jose Medina with the 2019 CCST Science Translators and CCST’s Brie Lindsey. Photo by Will Bucquoy courtesy of CCST

"Opening the lines of communication between California's researchers and policymakers can only help to ensure the bright future of California."

Communicating science to the public and in particular to policymakers is a critical component of advancing the scientific mission and agenda. In her capacity as the Chair of the Communications Committee for the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory’s Ambassador Program, Maria fosters these opportunities for graduate students and other junior scientists. She is excited to bring her experiences at the State Capitol back to UCI to help inform and guide UCI’s trainees.

The University of California, Irvine’s mission cannot be sustained without the support of the community and the federal and state governments. Communicating scientific knowledge to policymakers and other decision makers ensures that investment in scientific discovery is not compromised or de-prioritized. Fortunately, students like Maria are up for the task, and are taking every opportunity to educate and advocate for science.

To learn more please contact Manuella Yassa, CNLM Director of Outreach and Education at manuella.yassa@uci.edu or (949) 824-5103

UCI Graduate Student Maria Montchal with California State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris Photo by Will Bucquoy courtesy of CCST
UCI Graduate Student Maria Montchal with California State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris Photo by Will Bucquoy courtesy of CCST