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Welcome to the AMS Washington Office

Contact: Karen Saxe, Associate Executive Director and Director of the Washington Office
Tel: 401-455-4115

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) is represented in Washington by Sam Rankin and Anita Benjamin, who work to connect the mathematics community with Washington decision-makers who impact science funding. Our goal is to expand their knowledge of scientific and mathematical issues and concerns. In turn, we provide mathematicians with up-to-date analyses of critical legislative issues, and advice on politics and contacts in Washington. Although primarily active in government and federal agency relations, we also work in media relations, education and outreach. Our strategy must be adaptive, responding to changes in current Washington concerns, policies, and the people who set them. At the same time, our ongoing focus is to work in close cooperation with the broader scientific community in Washington to achieve a visible and effective mathematical presence.

Science Policy
Washington Office staff provide an important link between the federal government and the mathematical community by organizing congressional briefings , regular congressional visits to discuss science policy and science funding issues, and advice on draft legislation that concerns mathematics, science and technology research and education.

AMS President Jim Arthur speaks with Rep. Vernon Ehlers,
a member of the House Committee on Science
Each year, our priority is to work during the annual appropriations process to ensure healthy funding for science. To this end, we are involved in organizing events such as the annual Congressional Visits Day, when 200-300 scientists come to Capitol Hill, and the annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Exhibition & Reception on Capitol Hill, which showcases over thirty research projects funded by NSF. We also organize meetings between the AMS leadership and congressional leaders, and arrange for their testimony before congressional committees.
AMS has become a leading participant in the work of the Washington scientific community -- Sam Rankin is currently the chair of the Coalition for National Science Funding , an alliance of over one hundred scientific organizations and universities working together to increase federal funding for the National Science Foundation. AMS coordinates the annual CNSF Exhibition and Reception on Capitol Hill, showcasing NSF-funded research projects.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) with Joannes Westerink
and Clint Dawson, presenters at an AMS sponsored Congressional
briefing on how mathematics helps predict storm surges.

AMS President Jim Arthur greets Congressman-Elect Gerald McNerney (CA-11)
at an AMS Congressional briefing held on Capitol Hill.

AMS Committee Support
The Washington Office also provides staff support for two of the Society's policy committees -- the AMS Committee on Science Policy (CSP), and the AMS Committee on Education (CoE). We alert members to critical legislative decisions at appropriate times, and advice on how to communicate effectively with their elected representatives. We organize each committee's meetings, bringing members in contact with Washington-based experts. For CSP, these are Congressional and Administration staff and federal agency representatives (NSF, DoD, NSA, DOE, etc), and in the case of CoE, representatives from educational organizations and agencies. These annual meetings also include university department chairs.

Some examples of our outreach work include organizing Town meetings , hosted by mathematicians, to bring together scientists and Members of Congress in their home districts. Mass Media Fellowships are sponsored each summer to mathematics graduate students who are placed in national media outlets, such as Voice of America, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune and Scientific American. The AMS also participates in the Congressional Fellowships program administered by the AAAS and places a mathematician in the office of a Member of Congress or congressional committee for one year to serve as a special legislative assistant in legislative and policy areas requiring scientific and technical input.  We organize the annual AMS Public Policy Award presented at a Capitol Hill reception to individuals who have performed outstanding public service in support of science. We also sponsor an annual breakfast for the recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching presented to high school teachers from across the country.

Communication to AMS members
The Washington Office utilizes its Government Contact Group to work at the grassroots level during the appropriations process to push for increased funding for the National Science Foundation.  This group of mathematicians is kept informed of critical legislative decisions and are asked to communicate with their local representatives to further this effort. If you would like to be involved in this group, please send an email to

In addition, the Washington Office organizes panel discussions and special sessions held during the Joint Mathematics Meetings.  We invite government speakers to address mathematicians attending these annual meetings, and we organize an annual workshop for department chairs at the Joint Meetings.  The Washington Office also facilitates communication between AMS members and their Members of Congress and relays information about science policy and funding matters via articles and reports in the Notices.

Bookmark our AMS Government Relations page to keep informed on science policy activities.


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