On October 22, Assistant Professor Michael Hendricks received a community engagement award from the University of Missouri’s Office of Extension and Engagement. The award recognized Hendricks and his co-director, Rachel Owen, for their work in co-creating and co-directing the Missouri Science and Technology Policy Fellows (MOST) Initiative during their time as graduate students at the University of Missouri.

MOST Policy Initiative, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation aimed at bringing scientists and policymakers together to improve the livelihoods for people and communities in the Midwest. The Missouri Science & Technology Policy Fellows program is the core, inaugural program under the umbrella of MOST Policy Initiative. In addition to placing scientifically-trained fellows in Missouri’s state capitol to provide scientific resources for policymakers, MOST also connects science to policy through the following priority areas:

  • Policy Initiatives: working side-by-side with elected officials to incorporate more scientific information into state and local policy decisions
  • Empowering Scientists: providing resources and training for scientists interested in interacting with the policy-making process
  • Public Engagement: engaging with the media and broader community on issues related to science and technology

To date, MOST has raised approximately $1.6 million from foundations and organizations around Missouri and the United States to carry out its efforts. Hendricks still serves on MOST’s advisory board and eventually wishes to create a similar program in Illinois.