Scientist Sentinels: Civic Engagement and Leadership Program


Over the past year, we have been inspired by the way scientists have used their voices to affirm the role of science in society and contribute to making the world a better place.


If you are eager to harness your role as a scientist and a constituent to share the value of science, inspire your peers, and support evidence-based decision making, we invite you to apply for the Scientist Sentinels: Civic Engagement & Leadership Program.


We’re excited to be providing a 6-month leadership program focusing on civic engagement for scientists and researchers. This program kicks off with a 3-day in-person retreat May 29 – June 1, 2018 in Seattle, WA. The 15 scientists selected for our program will join 5 Science and Democracy Fellows supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists for an intensive retreat on the policy landscape, the role of science in decision-making, leadership, and science communication skills. Participants will refine their civic engagement goals as scientists, practice new communication and leadership techniques, and become part of a network of mutually supportive peers.  


We hope that this program will catalyze new approaches and pathways of democratic participation for the scientists and researchers involved.



  1. Help participants identify their purpose and goals for communication.

  2. Provide participants with the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to reach their communication and civic engagement goals.

  3. Build a network of empowered, mutually supportive leaders in science, motivated and prepared to be involved in society’s discussions and the decision making process, and to assist their colleagues to do so as well.

  4. Empower scientists and researchers to work with their communities to support evidence-based decision making at the local level and beyond.


Program Leads

Amanda Stanley is COMPASS’s Executive Director. She provides leadership in mission, vision, and strategy. Prior to joining COMPASS in 2017, she was the Conservation Science Program Officer at Wilburforce Foundation for six years, directing the foundation's efforts to provide science capacity to grantees and partners, empowering scientists to engage in management and policy, and ensuring that decisions are made with the best available science.


Pamela Chiang is the president of Chiange Inc. and is an organizational consultant, facilitator, leadership trainer, and executive coach. Leaders seek out Pamela when they find themselves stuck. She describes herself as an “organizational and leadership acupuncturist” by helping people gain insights and take actions that lead to breakthroughs. She specializes in organizational visioning, culture change, team alignment and leadership development. Pamela cut her teeth as an organizer and leader in the environmental justice movement of the 1990s. Motivated to expand the effectiveness of the progressive sector, she masterfully coaches, trains, and facilitates leaders to be more successful agents of change.

Joanna Nadeau is an outreach coordinator for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role, she helps scientists and other experts get involved in serving as watchdogs for science, and mobilizes Science Network members to push back against attempts by Congress to cut vital science-based public protections. Prior to joining UCS, Joanna worked for Audubon International as director of community programs, where she brought technical experts, community members, and policymakers together to shape local sustainability policies. She was also involved in New York state’s Fight for Fifteen campaign, where she worked with economists and fast food workers to raise the minimum wage. She earned a B.S. in biology from Haverford College, and an M.S. in environmental and healthy city planning from the University of Arizona.


  1. A three-day science communication, policy engagement, and leadership retreat with world-class trainers that will provide you with the knowledge, tools, and support you need to help you realize your civic engagement goals;

  2. Membership in a cohort of motivated, inspirational scientists and researchers who are eager to support each other in making the world a better place;

  3. Coaching, peer support, and additional training opportunities to help you in your growth as a scientist leader;

  4. Guidance on how to identify opportunities to engage and navigators who can help you gain access to discussions where your research is relevant;

  5. Confidence in your abilities and the support of your network, and connection to your purpose and goals.


Successful applicants, in addition to participating in the retreat, will receive accommodation for 3 nights in Seattle. All meals during the retreat will be covered. Participants are asked to cover their travel expenses to Seattle if possible; however, travel funds are available—please don’t let the cost of traveling to Seattle keep you from applying!


In addition, participants will have access to post-retreat webinars and peer group coaching sessions for ongoing learning and support.


If you are located in the states of Montana, Missouri, Maine, Nevada, or North Dakota, you may be eligible for the UCS Science and Democracy Fellowship, a more intensive and advocacy-focused program. UCS Science and Democracy Fellows will also be attending the three-day retreat as part of their fellowship.




All natural and social scientists currently residing in the U.S. are eligible to apply. We particularly encourage scientists studying topics with bearing on environmental issues. Applications from scientists and researchers from any affiliation (academic, state or federal government, tribal government, NGO, industry, etc.) and career stage are welcome.

Who Should Apply

We are committed to building a cohort that encompasses the diverse blend of perspectives, environments, fields of study, backgrounds, and career stages. We value multiple identities, voices, values, and ways of knowing, and seek applicants who embody and express the many ways of being a scientist or researcher. We are seeking participants who are excited to invest the necessary time and energy to fully participate in the 6-month program, including the 3-day in-person retreat and participating in coaching, small group peer mentoring, and additional webinars (approximately 4 hours/month). A spirit of open-mindedness and generosity, in addition to a willingness to contribute to a collaborative, mutually supportive network of your peers, is highly desirable.


How To Apply

To apply, please fill out this Google Form with the following:

  • Contact info

  • Academic credentials and affiliation

  • Brief bio (one paragraph) including research topics and your previous engagement experience or outreach efforts

  • References (2-3 names with contact information)

  • Resume or short CV (include as link, if available online, or please email as an attachment to, with the subject header Sentinels and your last name).

  • Responses to the following short-answer questions:

  1. What do you hope to gain from this program?

  2. How would you put to use the skills you gain and the network you build through this program? How will you better connect/support/engage after the retreat, and what would be your goal in doing so?

  3. Please briefly share a significant experience you’ve had engaging in policy/public outreach/other efforts to support the role of science in society.


Call for applications will remain open until February 20, and we will notify those selected by April 1.


Additional questions? Check out our FAQ here.


Need more info? Please contact

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