Meet students headed to the March for Science
The March for Science, which will take place at the Capitol building in Lansing on Saturday at 1 p.m., is a chance for scientists to make their voices heard. Sierra Owen, an MSU alumna who is one of the lead organizers for the March for Science in Lansing, is one such scientist. Owen’s degrees from MSU come from the Broad School of Business, and she is a data scientist, an example of how science extends beyond the stereotypical lab-coat mold.
“I would say that everyone’s a scientist,” Owen said. “It’s a process of discovery. Things that affect science affect everyone. So, down to if you want to get healthier, and you look up how much water to drink, or you need medication, or even using a cell phone. Everything in our daily lives is so affected by science, and I think that’s the connection to science.”
For chemistry junior Robin DeClercq, the March for Science, which will take place at the Capitol building in Lansing on Saturday at 1 p.m., is an opportunity for the scientific community to show solidarity on a number of issues.
“I thought it was a great way to show unity among scientists around the world, and a great way to show community and connection together under something we love and are passionate about, in order to show, I guess, kind of our strength, and that this is something we’re willing to fight for in any given situation,” DeClercq said.
According to the organizers of the March for Science, the event is intended only to promote scientific causes, not to support any particular political party. Owen, among other organizers, said she thinks commitment to science should transcend party politics.
“One thing we’re trying to do is really push inclusion,” Owen said. “We’re trying to make sure that, between some of our speakers and organizations that are at the march, and just the people that are at the march themselves, that we represent those views and also makes sure that it’s about the science and it’s about the policies, it’s not party-affiliated and it’s not partisan.”
Dr. Kevin Elliott, an MSU associate professor in the Departments of Fisheries and Wildlife and Philosophy who will be speaking at Saturday’s event, said there will be a diverse group of marchers at the event; while some will be nonpartisan, others will be present for more political reasons.
The many participants in the March all have different priorities for scientific issues they would like to address. Elliott emphasized the need for greater transparency in scientific research, while chemistry doctoral student Krystin Stiefel said she hopes to see more funding for scientific research.
Fisheries and wildlife senior Hannah Reynolds emphasized a need for cleanup in the Great Lakes. Student organizer Andrew Biggie, a mechanical engineering junior, said climate change is of specific importance to him.
“I just think the amount of evidence is overwhelming, and the fact that some people are ignoring that, or choosing not to believe in it, when I think that we’re also in a very important time in human history, where the effects of climate change are becoming more relevant, and if we don’t start to take action soon then it’s going to be past the point of no return,” Biggie said.
Part of the march will also include outreach to young scientists. The Younger Chemists Committee will help run activities for young visitors to the march, hoping to strengthen the future of science in America by getting young people excited about science.
Marchers like fisheries and wildlife senior Jessica Pannett expressed hope that their activism can help effect long-term change in the scientific community.
“You know, I think if people read about it, or see it on the news, or watch it in the streets, or maybe are part of it themselves, as long as they learn something that would get them involved in some of the issues, and they would help somebody else, you know, it’s kind of like a butterfly effect,” Pannett said. “Changing one mind will change a whole bunch of different minds.”