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Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo

Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo

Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo

Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo
   

Applying collaboration & arts practices to help scientists and others learn to tell their stories and connect across differences

At Virginia Tech's Center for Communicating Science, we create and support experiences for scientists, engineers, scholars, and health professionals to build muscles of connection, communication, and collaboration. What  sets us apart from other approaches and makes our work effective is that we use the powerful tools of the arts, including embodied learning, deep listening, improvisation, role play, and storytelling.

We believe in the power of play, and we believe that we learn through experience and by reflecting on our experiences.

     

We aim to help researchers make their communication more personal, direct, spontaneous, and responsive.

Communicating Science Mission Words: Personal

Communicating Science Mission Words: Personal

Build trust and learn through connection and engagement. Share stories, values, and emotions.

Communicating Science Mission Words: Direct

Communicating Science Mission Words: Direct

Drop your field-specific jargon; avoid acronyms; find a language in common with your audience.

Communicating Science Mission Words: Spontaneous

Communicating Science Mission Words: Spontaneous

Learn relaxation and rehearsal techniques to build confidence in your ability to explain your research. 

Communicating Science Mission Words: Responsive

Communicating Science Mission Words: Responsive

Who is your audience? What do they need? What can you learn from them? How do you connect?

     

What's happening at the center?

Ten Years of Numbers, Stories, and Gratitude: A Letter From the Director

On a walk by a river not long ago, I saw a box of matches valiantly floating along in the water. It made me a little melancholy to think of all the potential energy in that box that would never be used, all those matches that would never light a fire because of the watery obstacle to connection and spark. 

    I sometimes think of complicated research as a soggy box of matches — full of potential energy but unable to light a fire in those of us who might be impacted by or interested in the work, because we don’t understand it. Our mission at the Center for Communicating Science (CCS) is to give researchers, scholars, scientists, and inventors the concepts, skills, and practice they need to make connections and to light a fire that will allow them to live out our university’s motto of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to the world. 

    We submitted the charter for the CCS in the fall of 2016 and held an opening celebration in the spring of 2017. But we’ve been doing the work of the center since 2012, when I developed and taught the first section of the graduate course Communicating Science and began responding to requests for workshops. Because that’s a nice round ten years ago, I want to take this opportunity to provide an overview of our work and thank some key contributors to the growth of the center. 

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January 10, 2023, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for the Combating Antimicrobial Resistance NSF Research Traineeship program.

January 12, 2023, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Communicating Science Intensive at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

January 25, 2023, 5:30 p.m. Science on Tap, New River Valley. Join Gretchen Matthews at Rising Silo Brewery (2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg) for "Defending Against Hackers of the Quantum Future." Dr. Matthews is a professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech and director of the southwest section of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. 

February 6, 2023, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for John Matson Lab, visiting scholars from Israel, part 1.

February 7, 2023, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Leadership Presence: Strengthening Person-to-Person Communication Skills workshop for the Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources Related Sciences group.

February 8, 20203, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for John Matson Lab, visiting scholars from Israel, part 2.

February 14, 2023, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Connecting Across Differences workshop for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry's Global Women Breakfast.

You can read all about the Center for Communicating Science on our newsletter page. Here's some of what we've been up to recently:

12/2/2022 Leadership Presence workshop for Virginia Tech George Washington Carver Scholars program

11/30/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Viverjita Umashankar and Isabella Cricco: Sustainability and the Life of Things)

11/17/2022 Communicating Science Intensive for the American Chestnut Foundation, Abingdon, VA

11/11/2022 Using Oral History Interviews to Expand Perspectives and Preserve Historically Excluded Narratives in STEM (presentation at Cultivating Ensembles 2022)

11/10/2022 SciArt Collaborations: Joys, Challenges, and Lessons Learned (presentation and workshop at Cultivating Ensembles 2022)

11/7/2022 six graduate student flash talks at Virginia Tech Graduate School HBCU/MSI Research Summit

11/7/2022 Introduction to Communicating Science, workshop for Preparing the Future Professoriate course

11/6/2022 networking mini-workshop for Virginia Tech Graduate School HBCU/MSI Research Summit

11/3/2022 Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn, workshop for Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine students

10/26/2022  Communicating Science (GRAD 5144) students talk about their research with fifth graders as part of Hokie for a Day at the Moss Arts Center

10/26/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Taylor Spellman and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council: Innovation is our Future)

10/24/2022 Communicating Science (GRAD 5144) students talk about their research with sixth and seventh graders at Eastern Elementary/Middle School, Giles County

10/19/2022 Science journalist Ed Yong spent a precious hour with 50-60 graduate students to talk about his career path and more.

10/18/2022 "Nutshell Talks" at the evening reception of the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship annual conference, Blacksburg, Virginia.

8/30/2022-10/18/2022 National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program communicating science workshops, weekly and culminating in research talks at the annual NSF NRT conference October 18-19.

9/28/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Doyee Byun: A Deep Dive Into Deep Space: All About the James Webb Telescope)

8/24/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Doug Pfeiffer and Jason Bielski: How to Prepare for the Arrival of Spotted Lanternflies)

8/22/2022 Welcome back workshop, Center for Enhancing Engineering Diversity, for new undergraduate and graduate students

8/21/22 Leadership workshop for Transfer Student Community

8/21/2022 Welcome back workshop, Center for Enhancing Engineering Diversity, for new undergraduate and graduate students

8/16/2022 Introduction to Communicating Science, a workshop for graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Post Baccalaureate Research and Education Program; Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program; and George Washington Carver Assistantship Program

8/14/2022 Communicating Across Differences, a workshop for the Mozaiko Intercultural Living-Learning Community student leaders and mentors

8/4/2022 Who and Why?, a workshop for Gear Up!, a Virginia Tech Graduate School program

7/27/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Brew Zoo with John Muller)

7/20/2022 Distilling Your Message, workshops for summer undergraduate research students 

7/13/2022 through 8/6/2022 German Fulbright Program: Connecting, Communicating, and Collaborating Across Differences: New Approaches for Applied Sciences, on campus at Virginia Tech

7/11/2022 Communicating Science part 3, workshop for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

6/28/2022 Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists, a workshop for visiting scholars from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and additional scholars from Chile and Guatemala

6/27/2022 Communicating Science part 2, workshop for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

6/22/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Building Soils for a Healthy Life)

6/17/2022 through 7/28/2022 Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity summer camp workshops for skill building in leadership, communication, and collaboration.

6/6/2022 Communicating Science part 1, workshop for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

6/1/2022 National Science Foundation grant supporting ABD graduate students: Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists

5/2/2022 World premiere of In the Burrow of Science (2022), Charles Nichols (b. 1967) (7:55); Vanessa Diaz, research; Erika Meitner, poetry; Zach Duer, video; Ariana Wyatt, soprano; John Irrera, violin; Ben Wyatt, cello; Annie Stevens, marimba. 

4/27/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Lyme Disease in the New River Valley with Dr. Brandon Jutras)

4/8/2022 Transfer Student Peer Mentors Program (LIstening, Imagining, Problem Solving with Transfer Student Experiences)

4/2/2022 Meadowbrook Public Library, "We Are Stardust: A Storytime Celebration of our Planet," a story time and art activity

Communicating Science Week! March 15-23: Click here for details about the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Center for Communicating Science.

3/23/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley ("Science! Music! Art! On Tap!" with speakers from Science on Canvas, Flip the Fair, Nutshell Games)

3/21/2022 Workshop: “How to Communicate Science in Your Job Search,” Alyssa Rametta

3/19/2022 Nutshell Games: 30 graduate students give 90-second talks to a panel of judges and a public audience

3/19/2022 Blacksburg Public Library, "We Are Stardust: A Storytime Celebration of our Planet," a take-and-make kit of activities and art supplies

3/19/2022 ComSciCon-VA Tech 2022, a graduate student conference designed to empower early career researchers to communicate complex and technical concepts to broad and diverse audiences

3/18/2022 Keynote Talk: "Hope Matters: Why Overcoming Doom and Gloom Is Essential to Achieving Climate Justice," Dr. Elin Kelsey

3/18/2022 Rhino 2020, a staged reading of a play by geosciences graduate student Ali Namayandeh exploring social unrest in the face of our changing climate

3/18/2022 Friday Friends: a conversation between author Elin Kelsey and illustrator Soyeon Kim

3/18/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “Building Personal Resilience for Engineers Through Dance Training,” Dr. Nina Stark and Rachel Rugh

3/18/2022 Developmental Psychology Brown Bag: "Communicating Science and Identity," Vanessa Diaz, Laura Epperson, and Mason Rosenthal

3/18/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “Thinking Like an Aspen: Enhancing Resiliency Through Transnational Coalitions,” Dr. Sweta Baniya and Daniel Bird Tobin 

3/18/2022 ICAT Play Date: "SciArt Fusion: Discoveries from Experiments in SciArt Collaboration" 

3/17/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “The Urgent Marvels of Coastal Science Exhibition,” Lynsey Grace Wyatt  and Dr. Nina Stark

3/17/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “Artistic Exploration of Children's Cognitive Development: Who Can Be a Scientist?” Dr. Vanessa Diaz, Zach Duer, Erika Meitner, Dr. Charles Nichols, Ariana Wyatt 

3/17/2022 SciArt Collaboration: "From Ping Pong to Community Wealth & Collaboration," Ralph Hall and Steven T. Licardi

3/16/2022 SciArt Collaboration: Discover Chub – Builders of Deerfield Trail

3/16/2022 SciArt Collaboration: Invasive Exegesis:Shedding Light on the Impacts of Invasive Plants in Appalachia 

3/4-3/6/2022 Science on Canvas at the Taubman Museum of Art.

2/25-27/2022 Science on Canvas at the Taubman Museum of Art

2/23/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Dr. Andrea Bertke: A Virus Walks Into a Bar…)

2/18/2022 Virginia Tech Life Science Seminars (Communicating Science: Celebrating Opportunities and Outreach) 

2/5/2022 Flip the Fair, a graduate student-organized outreach program at the Melrose Branch Library in Roanoke

1/26/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Dr. Ralph Hall and Steven T. Licardi: Exploring Community Wealth Building Through Performance Art)

12/1/2021 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for Virginia Tech juniors and seniors in the course Cognitive Neuroscience

11/17/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Korin Jones: Frog Microbiomes; Erin Ling: Blacksburg's 16 Frogs Project)

11/5/2021 Flip the Fair! Shaping Your Research for Children workshop

11/3/2021 Widening Inclusivity in the (Geo)Sciences presentation (Girls Launch! Providing Female Scientist Role Models to Early Elementary Children)

10/27/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Amber Wendler and Marissa Langager: Bird Where You Live)

9/27/2021 University of Maine, Maine e-DNA, Communicating Science Symposium

9/27/2021 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for the Preparing the Future Professoriate course

9/22/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Shannon Bell, Christine Labuski, and Cara Daggett: Energy Justice: Why Solar Panels Aren't Enough)

9/10/2021 ICAT Play Date (Girls Launch! A Pandemic Response to Providing Female Scientist Role Models to Children)

9/3/2021 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

9/1/2021 Virginia/Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Topics in Human-Animal Interaction (Describing Basic Procedures, an Interactive Communication Workshop)

8/25/2021 Fralin Life Sciences Institute Communications, Marketing, & Branding Seminar

8/25/2021 Science on Tap, Kristin Rose Jutras: The Poetry of Science Communications

7/19/2021 - 8/13/2021 German Fulbright Summer Institute 2021, “Communicating Across Disciplines: New Approaches for Applied Sciences” 

7/28/2021 Science on Tap, Emmanuel Frimpong and Hiromi Okumura: The Art and Science of Stream Biodiversity

6/24/2021 Science on Tap, Abby Lewis: Oxygen: Stories of Fire, Beer, and the Guillotine

5/17/2021 SciArts Collaboration Incubator 

5/14/2021 Institute of Food Technologists (Effective Strategies to Communicate Science, an Interactive Workshop)

5/4/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable's Hands-on PowerPoint: Learn How to Turn Theory into Practice)

4/29/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable’s Decoding Slide Design: Using Science and Art to Make Powerful Visuals)

4/27/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable’s Rethinking Presentations: Memorable and Influential Presentations)

4/22/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Sweta Baniya, Minh Duong, Sara Richards, Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Khanh To, Na Xie: Asian & Pacific Islander in Academia: Research Stories and Successes)

4/22/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider's Crafting a Story of Your Research, Part 2)

4/20/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider's Crafting a Story of Your Research, Part 1)

4/15/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Crafting Your Personal Science Story, Part 2) 

4/13/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Crafting Your Personal Science Story, Part 1) 

4/1/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Introduction to Storytelling for Scientists) 

3/31/2021 Orion Living-Learning Program First-Year Students (Communicating Science workshop)

3/30/2021 Orion Living-Learning Program First-Year Students (Communicating Science workshop) 

3/30/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Introduction to Storytelling for Scientists) 

3/25/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Bruce Hull: Leading From Where You Are: Sustaining Hope for a Sustainable Future)

3/25/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Open Sessions for Practice Communicating)

3/23/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Open Sessions for Practice Communicating)

3/18/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Making Your Research Understandable: Bridging the Gap)

3/16/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Effective Presentations: Building Confidence and Personal Presence)

3/11/2021 Virginia Tech Roanoke Center (Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Effective Communication in Person and Online)

3/4/2021 Virginia Tech Roanoke Center (Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Effective Communication in Person and Online)

3/4/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Learning to Listen: Connecting with Audiences and Collaborators)

3/2/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable’s Presenting Better Virtually: Engage Your Audience in a Virtual Setting)

2/25/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Bennett Grooms: A New Age of Conservation: Helping Wildlife by Understanding People)

2/25/2021 Virginia Tech Roanoke Center (Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Effective Communication in Person and Online)

2/18/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Distilling Your Message: Succinct and Compelling Interactions)

2/16/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Distilling Your Message: Succinct and Compelling Interactions)

1/28/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Daniel Bird Tobin: Embodying Emotional Connections to Science Through Theatre)

1/27/2021 Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences Graduate Student Association (Communicating Your Research Online. . .Is Like Making Your Own Hollywood Blockbuster!)

1/14/2021 Women and Gender in Development Conference (Preparatory workshop: Communicating Your Research)

     

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    Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo

    Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo

    Center for Communicating Science
    230 Grove Lane
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
    (Campus mail code: 0555)

    Director Patty Raun
    praun@vt.edu

    Associate Director Carrie Kroehler
    cjkroehl@vt.edu