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Sociology Takes the Limelight on Capitol Hill 

The American Sociological Association sponsored another successful exhibit at the Coalition for National Science Funding's (CNSF) 16th Annual Exhibition and Reception on Capitol Hill this spring. 

This year, ASA hosted Duke University research sociologist Linda Burton so that she could participate in this annual CNSF poster session on April 14, 2010. The CNSF Exhibition specifically highlights National Science Foundation-supported research so that members of Congress, their staff, Committee staff, and other policymakers can learn from researchers directly about the work that NSF funds. Burton's work explored the role of trust in the romantic unions of low-income mothers, a population segment with a particularly low marriage rate.

ASA Director of Public Affairs Lee Herring (left), Duke University sociologist Linda Burton, and Acting Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation Cora Marrett in front of Burton’s exhibit at the CNSF’s 16th annual exhibition and reception on April 14.

"The problem is not just getting women to start trusting men," Burton said. "It's also getting them to stop trusting men in ways that are not conducive to stable partnerships and to start using trust in ways that are more likely to lead to lasting, healthy unions."

Burton's presentations was one of 37 NSF-funded research and education projects exhibited at the event, which highlighted a wide range of exciting science, covering topics from social policy and natural disasters to the environment and finance.

Pictured here are ASA's Director of Public Affairs, Lee Herring; Duke University sociologist and CNSF poster presenter, Linda Burton; and National Science Foundation Acting Deputy Director, sociologist Cora Marrett.

More than 250 people, including Representatives Brian Baird (D-WA), Howard Coble (R-NC), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Bill Foster (D-IL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), and Brad Miller (D-NC), attended the exhibition and spoke with the poster presenters.

During her time on Capitol Hill, Burton also met privately with staffers for several members of the North Carolina congressional delegation, including Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and Reps. David Price and Miller, to discuss her research and to promote sociology as a discipline. Hagan, Price, and Miller are democrats, while Burr is a republican.

"The CNSF exhibition and the meetings with congressional staffers were key opportunities to publicize Linda's valuable work and to highlight the importance of sociology in general," said Lee Herring, ASA's director of public affairs.

CNSF, of which ASA is a member, is an alliance of more than 125 organizations united by a concern for the future vitality of the national science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research enterprise as well as the related kindergarten through graduate educational pipeline.

ASA has participated in the CNSF's annual showcase of exemplary NSF-supported research for the past eight years and regularly before 2002.