Kevin Slack

Connecting Constitution 101 With Biochemistry

Written by Madeleine Jepsen

After Constitution class, I went down to the tiny hall tucked away in the basement of Lane where Dr. Slack’s office is. That day in class, we had discussed the budgeting deficits and the way government spending contributes to grant funding in science.

Before class, I was aware that a majority of research funding came from the government, but the statistic quoted in class—that nine out of every ten dollars spent on research in the U.S. comes from the government—was shocking.

As a biochemistry student looking at a very probable research career, and as a conservative against excessive government spending, Dr. Slack’s lecture raised some interesting questions for me. I asked what, if anything, I could do as an individual researcher to help change (or at the very least, not perpetuate) the current system of funding.

Dr. Slack explained how the current system is not the only system, and although there is little that an individual researcher can do to change the way funding works, I could always seek out private grants and funding as a priority over government grants.

Although I appreciated learning about the U.S. Constitution and the way government was meant to be, I had compartmentalized the subject as unrelated to my science classes. This exchange helped me realize the interconnectedness of topics I had previously thought were unrelated, and reminded me how the ideas and concepts discussed in core classes can permeate all aspects of my education.

Madeleine Jepsen, ‘18, studies biochemistry and journalism. Outside the classroom, Madeleine serves as a reporter and assistant editor for the Collegian. She is also involved in Catholic Society.