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

Join us to meet special guest and global warming journalist  Sara Peach! Senior editor at Yale Climate Connections, Sara's talk is titled "What to Expect When You're Expecting Climate Change" 

5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 26

Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg

The Humorous Side of the Climate Story: A workshop on the bizarre, unexpected, and delightfully weird side of climate change.

Yale Climate Connections Senior Editor Sara Peach

12-1:30 p.m. September 27

Steger Hall Conference Center, 1015 Life Science Circle

Please RSVP for lunch!


Skype a Scientist founder and squid researcher Sarah McAnulty will speak about her experiences with Skype a Scientist, a program that matches researchers with school classrooms.  

3 p.m. November 15

Fralin Hall Auditorium, 360 West Campus Drive

Skype a Scientist founder and squid researcher Sarah McAnulty will give a talk for science festival presenters, graduate students, and other interested persons.

6 p.m. November 15

Fralin Hall Auditorium, 360 West Campus Drive

Reception at 5:30 p.m., Fralin Atrium

Our annual research presentation competition! Thirty graduate students each get 90 seconds to explain their research to a panel of judges and a public audience. Applications will open in early October.

4:30 p.m. November 16

Moss Arts Center 

An exhibition suite featuring three artists who transform data into 3-dimensional form. Moss Arts Center, continues through November 9. Click here for more information. 

Recent Events

Center 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, August 4-7, Orlando

At CESTEMER 2019, The Power of Connection: Performance, play, and creativity:

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

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

Center Faculty Fellow Daniel Bird Tobin performed "Laser"

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

New York Institute of Tecnology, New York City

June 20-22

Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop for visiting faculty and scholars, June 12, 2019 

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

Center director Patty Raun provided the keynote address and engagement: "What's in a Nutshell? Brief Compelling Interactions with the Public"

San Diego, California

February 12, 2019

Center director Patty Raun provided a presentation and workshop, "Connecting across Differences," for annual conference participants

November 29-December 2, 2018

San Diego, California

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