Congressional Visits Day

The Congressional Visits Day is an annual event held in Washington, D.C. which brings graduate students and scientists to Capitol Hill to raise awareness and support for science and research funding. The Congressional Visits Day exposes constituent scientists to the federal budget and appropriations process, while helping them develop relationships with members of their congressional delegation. Graduate students with an interest in science policy can apply for the SSSA, ASA and CSSA Future Leaders in Science Award to receive a trip to D.C. to participate in the Congressional Visits Day.

What is CVD?

Every spring, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) bring graduate student members from across the nation to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Congressional delegation and advocate for agricultural and environmental research.

What is the Future Leaders in Science Award?

Scientific expertise is rare on Capitol Hill. Even those Congressional members and staff who are responsible for agricultural and environmental policy, often have little or no scientific background. The 5th annual Future Leaders in Science award is an opportunity for graduate students to engage with policy-makers in order to raise awareness and support for science, technology and research funding.

Recipients of the Future Leaders in Science award receive a trip to D.C. to participate in the annual SSSA, ASA and CSSA Congressional Visits Day. The Societies will cover travel, hotel and meal expenses for award winners.

All recipients will receive policy, communication and advocacy training to learn how to effectively work with members of Congress and their staff. While in D.C., recipients will also have the opportunity for one-on-one interaction with the SSSA, ASA and CSSA leadership. The student and professional participants in Congressional Visits Day will form an invaluable network to draw from in your future research, advocacy endeavors and career development.

When is the 2017 Congressional Visits Day?

The 2017 Congressional Visits Day will be held on March 13-14.

How many students receive the award?

The SSSA, ASA and CSSA Science Policy Office will select up to 18 Future Leaders in Science award recipients.
How do I apply?
The application for the 2016 Future Leaders in Science award is now open to all current graduate student members of the Societies. Use our online system here to apply.
** This award allows self-nominations only. For self nominations, you are both the nominator and the nominee.**
The application deadline is January 9, 2017.

Can only the Future Leaders in Science award recipients participate in Congressional Visits Day?

Of course not! While there are a limited number of Future Leaders in Science award recipients, anyone is welcome to participate in the Congressional Visits Day if they can cover their own travel and housing arrangements. Note: We will still assist you with hotel reservations and other logistics.

Want to learn more?

Hear what past recipients of the Future Leaders in Science award have to say about their experience on the Hill

Other questions?

Please contact the Science Policy Office at or 202-408-5558 with any questions.

CVD in Action!

Check out these photos from the 2016 CVD.   


“I think many people see government as 'inaccessible' and are unsure of what they as a citizen can do. However, during my time on Capitol Hill, I realized how much my representatives are appreciative of and receptive to advocacy from their constituents.”  

Heather Matthees-Dose, 2015 CVD Participant


"I wanted to participate in Congressional Visits Day because I wanted to understand how the appropriations committee actually dictates funding. It’s important as a graduate student to learn where the agricultural sciences are going; to have and understanding of the current funding situation and the prospects for future research funding." 

Steven Hystad, 2014 CVD Participant



"As scientists and researchers, we’re a resource. We have a lot of skills and important information that we can share with legislators. So it’s important to learn how to talk about our research in ways that legislators can understand and appreciate and then be able to apply to the issues that they’re facing."

Kristin Fisher, 2013 CVD Participant



"I think agricultural research and agricultural policy are some of the most important areas we have. I hope that my efforts at CVD will help with funding for research that will improve aspects of agronomic production, economic production, and the environmental aspect of production agriculture. For me that was really my main factor when I was looking at the CVD program and that’s really what drew me to it."

Chris Rogers, 2014 CVD Participant


CVD History

rep garamendi
Click image for more information