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JuSTEMagine 2023 Nebraska Legislative Advocacy Conference

By Francesca Vidal

On March 21, 2023, JuSTEMagine hosted and planned its second annual Legislative Advocacy Conference where volunteers traveled to the Nebraska State Capitol to advocate for a new STEM bill: LB520. The conference was hosted in hopes of making STEM education more accessible to students throughout Nebraska.

JuSTEMagine volunteers learn about the history of the NE State Capitol.

JuSTEMagine volunteers, led by Claire Cenovic, 2022-2023 President of JuSTEMagine, Aanya Mishra, former Director of Legislative Advocacy, began planning for the conference back in December. Volunteers conducted research on potential bills, wrote emails to senators, recorded statistics about STEM, created presentations, and planned the logistics of the event. After some research, JuSTEMagine chose to advocate for LB520, a follow-up bill to LB1112, a bill that passed last year that required students to take at least one semester of a computer or technology course.

“I thought that the Advocacy conference was a great chance to get our voices heard in our community.”

- Liam Garrigan, 2023-2024 Director of

Legislative Advocacy

On March 6th, JuSTEMagine hosted a training session where Lane Carr, Administrator at the Nebraska Department of Education, and Dr. Adriana Bankston, Senior Fellow in Civil Science and Public Policy with SigmaXi and STEM advocate, shared their experiences and advice on how to advocate to state senators. The training session helped tremendously to prepare students for the conference that would take place two weeks later.

On March 21st, volunteers from all over Omaha, Nebraska went to the State Capitol. After arriving at the Capitol, JuSTEMagine volunteers were provided with a tour of the history of the State Capitol and a description of Nebraska’s government. In groups of four, volunteers spoke with various senators to advocate for the passing of LB520.

JuSTEMagine volunteers also brought a robot to show to the kids at the Capitol. Volunteers who participated in VEX robotics drove the robot while Meg Harms, Dean of Students at Brownell Talbot, talked to kids about STEM.

JuSTEMagine volunteers Rital, Francesca, and Angel brought a robot to the Capitol.

"It was really cool being able to show Brownell Talbot’s robotic goose, which gave a small glimpse into what STEM education can do. The 4th graders saw us driving the robot throughout the Capitol and were intrigued by what it could do."

- Sidra Miller, JuSTEMagine Volunteer

Thank you to all the JuSTEMagine volunteers who participated in the planning of JuSTEMagine’s 2nd Legislative Advocacy Conference; we appreciate all the hard work and dedication to helping JuSTEMagine return to the Capitol!

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