Audrey Buelo, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been awarded the 2015/16 AMP/Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach.
Audrey's Hayre Fellowship project will be to create a one-credit seminar for graduate students studying biomedical and psychological research to encourage them to become strong public advocates for science.
Students taking the class - most of whom will go on to become researchers - will see how importance it is for scientists to reach out to the public with clear and focused messages about the vital and humane nature of animal research. They will learn the role each of them can play in building public support for research through various outreach initiatives and effective methods for advocacy. As a final project, students will independently design their own outreach program using the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the semester, a personal ready-to-use advocacy tool to use in their future public outreach.
The pilot course will be taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spring 2016. Afterwards, all course materials will be freely distributed online and other research universities will be able to adopt the course.
Audrey stated, "I believe that teaching graduate students the importance of outreach while they're still in a school setting is critical to inspiring them to be lifelong advocates. Currently there are no systematic programs that train graduate students how to engage effectively with the public on the topic of animal research - nor are they taught the importance of outreach and education. My proposal is intended to fill that gap by creating a course that is interesting and relevant to students my own age."
"Many of these graduate students will have a lab of their own one day," Audrey noted. "They will teach, and they will be able to disseminate the information gained in this course to their own graduate students and undergraduates, creating a ripple effect for the future of scientific outreach."
Audrey's project, which will draw on faculty members, outside scientists and outreach specialists for review, will build on her senior honors thesis about the effects of scientific literacy on attitudes towards animal research. Audrey graduated this month from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a B.S. in Biology and Honors Psychology. For three years she was an undergraduate research assistant at the University, working alongside scientists studying rodent and nonhuman primate behavior.
"We're delighted to sponsor Audrey's work in developing this course. A seminar such as she envisions will fill a crucial gap in the training of future researchers. Animal research is a complex issue that often draws emotional responses. Scientists must be actively involved in reaching the public, conveying the truth about the work they do in their quest for knowledge, treatments and cures," said Jacquie Calnan, President of Americans for Medical Progress.
The Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach, established by Americans for Medical Progress in 2008, promotes peer education about humane and responsible animal research among students and young adults. Named in memory of AMP's former Chairman, Michael D. Hayre, DVM, ACLAM, the Fellowship provides support for outreach and advocacy projects in the United States. Learn more about the AMP/Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach at http://www.