July 06, 2011

Animal science on Capitol Hill

Graduate student Ben Williamson is working in Washington D.C. this summer.

Animal agriculture affects everyone, even members of Congress.
This summer, Benjamin Williamson, a graduate student from the University of Arkansas, is working to understand the role of public policy in the field of animal science. As the ASAS Zimbelman-Hafs public policy intern, Williamson attends meeting on Capitol Hill and speaks with politicians about animal science issues.

For the first part of the summer, Williamson worked as an intern with the National Milk Producers Federation, and he is currently working for Representative Steve Austria of Ohio.

Williamson comes from an industry and research background, but before the internship, he had not seen animal science from a policy perspective. “It’s really neat to see how things come together from this side of the industry,” said Williamson in an interview with ASAS.

“I have an extremely unique opportunity to be on both sides of this,” Williamson said.
Williamson thinks all animal scientists can influence public policy decisions that affect animal science issues like regulation and funding.
“We need to do a better job of trying to communicate with our congressmen,” said Williamson.

One way for students in animal science to get involved is to apply for the yearly Zimbelman-Hafs internship. The internship was established by ASAS in appreciation of scientists Robert G. Zimbelman and Harold Hafs. The application process begins in November.

“I highly encourage anyone to do this,” Williamson said.

For more information on the Zimbelman-Hafs internship, visit: http://www.asas.org/page.asp?pageID=151