With the goal of promoting effective uses of research in both social and natural sciences to improve quality of life, UCI’s Newkirk Center of Science and Society has hosted lectures, workshops, and conferences since its opening in 2001. The center also provides important funding to UCI students in all disciplines, whose research projects complement the center’s goals.

One such student, sociology’s Erin M. Evans, recently received funding in the form of the Newkirk Graduate Student Fellowship. Her dissertation proposal—which earned her the fellowship—addresses how scientists are influenced to alter their practices based on societal happenings, particularly concerning animal advocacy groups.

“The project embodies a fundamental question of how the institution of science interacts with and responds to civil society,” Evans explains. “Can activists use democratic structures, like policy reform, to change scientific institutions?”

Evans also received funding from the center in 2013 to attend the Society for the Social Studies of Science conference in San Diego, a trip she says was instrumental in developing her research by “solidifying my interest in using literature on science studies” in her research.

Evans will use the $7,330 award to cover the cost of tuition for the 2015/16 school year, as well as fund two research trips and purchase qualitative analysis software.

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