Science Communication

two scientists speaking on a stageRhode Island NSF EPSCoR works with communications experts to help our scientists and students be better able to make science accessible. Communicating science to a broad audience is important to improving the public understanding of marine life science and climate change.

Becoming the messenger

Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR researchers reach out in new and intriguing ways to engage varied audiences.

At Brown University, Casey Dunn and his students developed CreatureCast, now being presented in partnership with The NY Times. Rebecca Helm, a graduate student in Dunn’s lab, blogs about jellyfish and biology and writes for Deep Sea News.

Other researchers share their science through a variety of platforms: Carol Thornber, URI; Susanne Menden-Deuer,  URI; JD Swanson, Salve Regina University; and Jameson Chace, Salve Regina University.

Metcalf workshops

In partnership with the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR supports a series of communications training workshops for scientists:

  • The SciComm Exchange sessions take place at RI NSF EPSCoR partner institutions throughout the academic year for a noon program that features such topics as science research poster designexplaining scientific uncertainty and how to communicate research work to a non-science audience.
  • Secrets of a Successful Scientific Presentation with Dennis Meredith. The author of Explaining Research offered faculty and student researchers the opportunity to learn the tools and techniques to enhance their communication skills and provided researches with helpful resources to better reach audiences, develop interesting visuals, design poster presentations and produce informative videos.
  • A science blogging workshop, presented by the Metcalf Institute and supported RI NSF EPSCoR, highlights the ongoing effort to help researchers strengthen their communication skills. The workshop consisted of two sessions led by Andrew David Thaler, editor-in-chief of Southern Fried Science. He was joined in a panel discussion by Chris Faesi, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and third year Ph.D. student in astrophysics at Harvard University; and Carrie McDonough, a Ph.D. candidate in the Lohmann Lab at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography who studies how toxic air and water pollutants are transported through the environment.

Student focus

As part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program supported by Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR, undergraduate students from Rhode Island’s nine EPSCoR partner campuses gain valuable experience in communication through their poster presentation. The 10-week summer research project culminates with the SURF Conference, where students present their research to an audience of faculty, staff, students and state leaders.

One pair of students in the 2013 SURF program focused their research on science communication, collaborating on the visualization and imaging of marine plankton.

Think Big We Do

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