The Center for Communicating Science:

The art of connecting across difference

The Center for Communicating Science  creates and supports opportunities for scientists, scholars, health professionals, and others to develop their abilities to communicate and connect. Our differences, whether they be racial, cultural, religious, education level, academic discipline, or research specialty, can divide us. But such differences also enrich our lives, broaden our perspectives, and strengthen our collaborations. Arts tools and practices can be used to bridge these divisions, helping participants  to learn to listen deeply, interact personally, directly, spontaneously, and responsively, and express themselves vividly. It is our intention to deepen human interaction, strengthen empathy and awareness of others, and develop collaborative team and leadership capacities in students, faculty, and industry and community partners.

A message from Alan Alda on the opening of the Center: "I'm delighted to know that the founding of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech is inspired by the work we do at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. It's my dream that innovative techniques for teaching communication will make the relationship between science and the public one that's close, warm, and exciting. I congratulate Virginia Tech as it strikes out on that path."


This is the Center's logo

Center Receives Outreach Award--Thanks, Team!

The Center for Communicating Science has been honored with the Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence. The official words on the plaque are “for Excellence in Team Outreach”—and that team has literally hundreds of members! If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're one of them, and we'd like to thank and congratulate you.

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Upcoming Events

No Science on Tap for May--everyone's too busy with graduation, Memorial Day weekend, etc.! But please check back for the June speaker, which will be

5:30 p.m., June 27

Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg

Research a la Mode provides a monthly venue for graduate researchers to practice their communication skills and share their research with people outside of their fields--and eat ice cream! Contact Lisa Whalen at if you'd like to be a RALM speaker during spring semester.


"Stories Not Symptoms: An Exhibition of Graphic Medicine" (4th floor of Newman Library) highlights the combination of the bright and whimsical nature of comic books with the medical jargon of disease and illness to tell the health stories of individuals. 

Interactive session at CESTEMER 2019  (Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research), June 20-22, New York City

Keynote address at the Voice and Speech Trainers Association annual conference, August 4-7, Orlando

Recent Events

BioXFEL 2019 (a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center international conference)

Keynote address and engagement: "What's in a Nutshell? Brief Compelling Interactions with the Public"

San Diego, California

February 12

Presentation and workshop, "Connecting across Differences," for annual conference participants

November 29-December 2

San Diego, California

Presentation: Communicating science: The art of connecting across difference 

Workshop: Improvisation for scientists

August 21-23, Berkeley, CA  

Conference presentation: Building communication and collaboration skills, from the inside out

June 27, Pittsburgh, PA

Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop for visiting faculty, June 25, Graduate Life Center

Center faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin facilitated a communicating science workshop for members of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

May 3, Memphis, TN

Susan Chen: Let's Talk Trash: Why Food Waste Matters

April 25, 2019

James Costa: Darwin's Backyard "Experimentising"

March 25, 2019

Brenen Wynd: "Almost all my friends are dead": What does paleontology tell us about extinction?

February 25, 2019

Sihui Ma: The Science of Fermented Drinks

January 28, 2019

Rajesh Bagchi: What's the Better Deal? The Science of Purchasing Decisions

November 26, 2018.

Michelle Stocker: Detectives at Work--The Case of the Embedded Tooth

November 1, 2018

Erica Feuerbacher: Dog Behavior

September 27, 2018

Debby Good: Is "23andMe" for You? The Promise and Peril of Genetic Testing

August 23, 2018

Tom Ewing: Booze and Flu(s): Science and Spirits in the 1918 Spanish Influenza

July 26, 2018

Brynn O'Donnell and Robin Scully: Ghost Streams and Painting Water

June 28, 2018

Nick Caruso: "Beyond Blaming the Dog: The Science of Animal Farts"

May 24, 2018

William Rhoades and Sid Roy: Lessons from Flint

April 23, 2018

James Wilson:  Honeybees and Beekeeping

March 26, 2018

Brian Malow: "An Evening of Humor with Science Comedian Brian Malow"

February 26, 2018

Kwame Harrison: "Experiencing Blackness in Defiantly White Spaces--in a Car"

January 22, 2018

Jake Socha: "Flying and Gliding: An Evolutionary Advantage"

November 27, 2017

Marcella Kelly's research group: "Catching Carnivores Creatively: Using Poop and Cameras to Capture Clues about Elusive Animals"

October 23, 2017

Abi Tyson: ""Transforming Football Helmet Design" 

September 25, 2017

Marc Stern: "How to Build Trust" 

August 28, 2017

Nutshell Games winners Caitlin Colleary, Anza Mitchell, and Max Ragozzino

May 6, 2017

William Hopkins: Hellbenders in the New River

April 24, 2017