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

Spring Brings Communicating Science Adventures

Here at the Center for Communicating Science, we believe in communication that is personal, direct, spontaneous, and responsive.  What happens when we're advised to stay home, teach remotely,  

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Upcoming Events

In-person March event POSTPONED, but we'll be sharing information with you from Virginia Tech virus researchers Linsey Marr and Kaisen Lin, who study airborne disease transmission. You can email Cassandra Hockman with questions you'd like to ask these experts:


POLITICO visual journalist Patterson Clark will be at the Moss Arts Center  with an April 2-3 multi-media show of his artwork, including a video demonstrating the transformation of invasive plants into pigments, textiles, and other media. As with many events, this may be postponed. Open to the public free of charge.

Brandi and Carlton Turner will speak on using the arts and agriculture to support rural community, cultural, and economic development. More information is available here.

4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., April 9

This event will be held via Zoom. Please contact Bob Leonard by email <> to register.

Explore the value of playful improvisation and serious games to help you establish more confident, more productive, and more effective connections with all of your collaborators at work and in life.

 Postponed--check back later for details.

Virginia Tech Roanoke Center, 108 N. Jefferson St., Roanoke

For more information and registration, click here.


Research a la Mode is a seminar series started by a graduate student. A monthly venue for graduate students from different departments to come together and hear a talk by one of their peers, Research a la Mode gives students an opportunity to practice communicating their research to an audience that is unfamiliar with their discipline. 

Contact Devin Hoffman (  if you'd like to schedule a presentation!

Recent Events

Center for Communicating Science director Patty Raun, associate director Carrie Kroehler, and faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin provided a two-day Communicating Science Intensive for NatureNet Fellows and other Nature Conservancy scientists at the annual NatureNet Science Fellows meeting and research symposium 

October 22 and 23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Center for Communicating Science director Patty Raun and associate director Carrie Kroehler provided a half-day "Distilling Your Message" workshop for members of the Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers

October 10, 2019

National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Virginia 

Center for Communicating Science director Patty Raun gave the keynote address, "Let Your Life Speak: The Art of Connecting Across Difference,"  at the Voice and Speech Trainers Association annual conference

Orlando, Florida

August 4-7, 2019

At CESTEMER 2019, The Power of Connection: Performance, play, and creativity, Center for Communicating Science faculty contributed in a number of ways:

Associate director Carrie Kroehler facilitated an interactive workshop, "Who, what, when, where, how, and why, why, why? Exercises for distilling your message"

Faculty fellow Cassandra Hockman gave a lightning talk, "Scientists and writers: How a university collaboration (and beyond) shows they're good friends"

Faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin performed "Laser"

Todd Nicewonger, Patty Raun, and Carrie Kroehler presented "Communicating Science: An ethnographic study"

New York Institute of Technology, New York City

June 20-22, 2019

Center for Communicating Science associate director Carrie Kroehler provided an "Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists" workshop for faculty and scholars visiting from Universidad San Francisco de Quito

June 12, 2019


Center for Communicating Science director Patty Raun provided the keynote address and engagement: "What's in a Nutshell? Brief Compelling Interactions with the Public" for BioXFEL 2019 (a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center international conference)

San Diego, California

February 12, 2019

Grace Davis and Stephanie Edwards Compton: Cancer: A Traveling Ecosystem

January 23, 2020    

Ruoding Shi: Understanding Differences in Respiratory Health in Coal-Mining Counties

November 14, 2019

Celebrating Women in Science! Members of the local Blacksburg-Radford pod of 500 Women Scientists gave flash talks about their current research.

October 24, 2019

Sara Peach: What to Expect When You're Expecting Climate Change 

September 26, 2019

Maddy Grupper: Public Trust in Drinking Water

August 22, 2019

Carol Davis: "Individual actions or systemic change?"--Thoughts about creating a more sustainable world.

July 25, 2019   

Derek Hennen: Millipedes of Virginia

June 27, 2019

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