Ten researchers from institutions across the U.S. have been selected to participate in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Advocacy Training Program, a rigorous six-month program aiming to produce the next generation of science advocates. Among those chosen is Aria Byrd, a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and researcher in the Fillmore Brainson Lab. 

"I've constantly been in environments that have motivated me to refine my passions and find my niche in the science world," said Byrd, "As I've matured, the significance of science communication has become paramount." 

Byrd and her cohort of delegates will take advantage of hands-on opportunities to explore the fundamentals of science advocacy, including appropriations, budgets, legislation and best practices for being an effective advocate. Additionally, delegates will meet with congressional representatives during the August recess and carry out science advocacy events in their local communities.  

Dr. Christina Brainson, assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine and director of the Fillmore Brainsom Lab shared the following sentiment about Byrd being selected for the program: 

"Consistently, Aria searches for and obtains opportunities that fit with her passion of communicating science to the public. In our laboratory, Aria studies the molecular pathways that cause aspects of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and she was just selected for the Toxicology and Cancer Biology T32 Training Fellowship. She will bring to the ASBMB program a strong background in preclinical research and innovative ideas about how to help change health disparities in the U.S.” 

Byrd's ultimate goal, in her own words, is to be involved in shaping national and global science policy by serving as an advocate for pertinent issues to underserved populations. 

"Discovering new ways to teach myself and assimilate complex concepts has been one of the most rewarding lessons I've learned as a student. So, in general, I want to help other people assimilate scientific facts so that they are empowered to make well-informed decisions."