Unelected Representative is a research-based newsletter about the people in Congress responsible for making choices about complex and often contentious science-related issues that shape our lives. It weaves together new academic research with theory in political science, communication, and psychology drawing on personal staff experiences.

Posts will explore topics like motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and emerging challenges such as the the rise of anti-intellectualism. There will be first-hand accounts of how information moves through Congress and also what gets lost along the way. I will explore ideas related to fostering trust and building stronger relationships between the people in science and those behind the scenes in Congress with the influence and ability to make a difference.

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a scientist and author at Michigan State University working to enhance public understanding of science and improve communication between scientists, policymakers and the public. She currently hosts Serving Up Science, now in its third season at PBS Digital Studios.

Kirshenbaum has co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney and The Science of Kissing. Her writing also appears in the The Best American Science Writing 2010.

In 2007, Sheril co-founded Science Debate and served as Executive Director from 2015-2022. Science Debate is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working with citizens across the nation to get presidential, state, and local candidates on record on science policy prior to election day. She has been a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a legislative NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the U.S. Senate with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a Next Generation Fellow through the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law.

She has also hosted blogs at Discover, Scientific American and Wired, as well as the weekly NPR podcast Serving Up Science. Her research focuses on how we make decisions about science and policy.

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A research-based look at the people we don't see in Congress making choices about complex & contentious science policy issues shaping our lives.

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Sheril Kirshenbaum
Author. Scientist. Journalist. Politics, Sustainability & Science Communication.