The Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) has one mission: connecting journalists, policymakers, and civic leaders with America’s top researchers to improve policy and strengthen democracy.
Started by a Harvard professor in 2011, the organization has grown from three people working in one office to 1,400 people at 270 universities across 48 states. Besides university-based scholars volunteering to serve the public good, the organization includes chapter leaders, staffers, and the steering committee.
While the SSN works to analyze policy impacts and advocate for evidence-based programs, its primary focus is supporting democracy. One way to accomplish this is by connecting diverse people, including scholars, policymakers, civic leaders, journalists, and other community members.
At least 68% of Americans get their news from social media. University researchers play an important role in sharing science-related news, with 47% of scientists using social media to discuss their findings and keep up with new discoveries.
To Dr. Zhao Ma, Professor of Natural Resource Social Science at Purdue University, communication is both a vital part of research and a way to help promote colleagues and students.
“Whether we’re social or biophysical scientists, engineers, or humanities scholars,” says Dr. Ma. “It’s important to be able to communicate our work with a broader audience within and beyond academia. Since a lot of our audience is already on social media, it makes sense to use it as a tool for communication.”
For Dr. Ma, it’s not just about promoting her own work, but that of her colleagues and students.