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A UT student is one of six graduate students nationwide who will travel to Washington DC to discuss with lawmakers the importance of science funding in higher education.

Jessica_WelchJessica Welch, a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, recently received the Graduate Student Policy Award from the Ecological Society of America. The award recognizes ecology students pursuing a career in policy or research. As part of the honor, she will travel to Washington, DC April 27 and 28.

While in Washington, Welch and other award recipients will participate in policy training and attend meetings with their respective US representative and senators. The Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition, co-chaired by the Ecological Society of America, sponsors the event.

At UT, Welch studies threats to bats caused by invasive species and analyses the extinction risk of threatened bat species to better inform conservation efforts. She is involved with a diverse array of public outreach and volunteer work promoting science education.

The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on earth. The Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways the ESA works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year.



Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,