Penn State delegation advocates for social sciences in Washington, DC

Penn State COSSA delegation

From left to right: Derek Kreager, Erica Dowell, J.D. Daw, Laszlo Kulcsar, Wes Wright (Office of Senator Toomey), Evan Bradley, Susan McHale, Max Crowley, Michael Donovan, Taylor Scott, and Christian Connell

Credit: Penn State

A group of Penn State researchers recently attended the Consortium of Social Science Association’s (COSSA) 2018 Science Policy Conference and Social Science Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.

The conference and advocacy day brought together COSSA members and other stakeholders for a day of discussion about federal policy impacting social science followed by a coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences.

Penn State was represented by a large delegation of researchers in demography, criminology, sociology, psychology, and human development and family studies from multiple campuses. The Penn State researchers attended plenary sessions the first day, then on the second day met with Pennsylvania members including Senator Pat Toomey, Senator Bob Casey, and State Representative Glenn Thompson.

“The purpose of meeting with legislators was to broadly showcase the importance of the social sciences, in terms of both the application and funding,” said attendee Michael Donovan, director of policy and outreach at Penn State’s Administrative Data Accelerator. “We were given an opportunity to pitch legislators on the importance of the social sciences and urge them to become advocates, bridging the gap between policy and research to better understand policymaker needs.”

In addition to Donovan, attendees from Penn State included:

  • Susan McHale, distinguished professor of human development and family studies and director of the Social Science Research Institute
  • Max Crowley, assistant professor of human development and family studies
  • Derek Kreager, professor of sociology and criminology and director of the Justice Center for Research
  • Laszlo Kulcsar, professor of rural sociology and demography and department head of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
  • Christian Connell, associate professor of human development and family studies and associate director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
  • Taylor Scott, assistant research professor at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center
  • Jonathon "J.D." Daw, assistant professor of sociology and demography
  • Evan Bradley, assistant professor of psychology at Penn State Brandywine

Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute was a sponsor of the two-day COSSA conference.