The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has selected two graduate students to receive the 2012 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award (EPPLA). Lida Beninson is a Ph.D. candidate in Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Andrew Reinmann is a Ph.D. candidate in Biology at Boston University.

“We applaud Lida and Andrew for their leadership and accomplishments at the interface of science and policy,” said AIBS Executive Director Dr. Richard O’Grady. “AIBS is committed to fostering a productive dialogue between policymakers and scientists, and the EPPLA program is an important part of this work.”

Since 2003, AIBS has recognized the achievements of graduate students who have demonstrated an interest and aptitude for contributing to science and public policy. AIBS will bring Beninson and Reinmann to Washington, DC in March to meet with their Congressional delegations. The winners will also participate in a training program on communicating with policymakers and will be briefed on the federal budget for scientific research. These events are in conjunction with the annual Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) Congressional Visits Day. The winners will also receive a certificate and one-year membership in AIBS, which includes a subscription to the journal BioScience.

“Lida and Andrew are great role models for scientists who are interested in working at the interface of science and policy,” said AIBS President Dr. Susan Stafford. “The leadership and enthusiasm they demonstrate will help bridge the communication gap between our nation’s policymakers and the scientific community.”

“I believe that attending the trainings associated with Congressional Visits Day will substantially broaden my experience and insight into how policy decisions are made and what factors influence those decisions,” said Beninson.

Beninson is pursuing a Ph.D. in integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is an editor of The Journal of Science Policy and Governance and a founding member of the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy, which seeks to facilitate communication between the scientific community and the public. She previously interned at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Biological Infrastructure, where she evaluated the success of two programs designed to expand undergraduate participation in scientific research. Lida has also been active in science education; she developed and taught a curriculum for middle school students on human anatomy and physiology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in neuropsychology and a certificate in elementary education from Princeton University.

“I look forward to the opportunity to communicate science and the importance of science to policy makers and to further my understanding of federal science budgets and the legislative process,” said Reinmann.

Reinmann is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Boston University. He has extensive experience communicating science to policymakers and the public. As part of his research program, he has developed a protocol for quantifying the carbon footprint of development and worked with local municipalities to mitigate climate change through land-use planning. He is currently organizing an interdisciplinary forum on communication of science for graduate students in the Boston area. Reinmann is a member of AIBS and the recipient of a Science to Achieve Results Graduate Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency. He has a Master’s degree in forestry from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Binghamton University.

This year, AIBS will also recognize Lindsay Chura, a Ph.D. student in psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, with an EPPLA Honorable Mention.

To learn more about the EPPLA program or other opportunities to work with AIBS on science policy issues, please visit


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