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

PechaKucha Night Set for Black House September 19 

With a limit of 20 slides, automatically advancing every 20 seconds, PechaKucha talks challenge presenters to be concise and engaging--and four of our Communicating Science course graduates have risen to the challenge! Please join us at 6 p.m.
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Upcoming Events

Erica Feuerbacher: Dog Behavior

September 27, 5:30 p.m.

Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg

Bennett Grooms: What Do the Social Sciences Offer to Wildlife Management? Exploring Insights on Wildlife Recreationists

September 27, 5 p.m.-6 p.m.

Museum of Geosciences, Derring Hall 2062

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.

20 slides, 20 seconds!

Ellen Garcia:  Green Labs

Sara Harrell:  Developing an Ecological Perspective

Mike Rosenzweig:  How to Have Fun with Kids in Blacksburg (but secretly teach them about nature)

Ken Black:  Pallet Construction

Carol Davis:  Zero Waste Choices in a Single-Use Culture

James Wilson/Ariel Heminger (co-presenters):  Landscaping for Bee & Bird Health

Teresa Sweeney:  New Recycling Guidelines

Emily Satterwhite:  The Pipeline: Community Impact, Community Response

Wednesday, September 19

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Alexander Black House, 204 Draper Road, Blacksburg

Improvisation for Scientists workshop for graduate students enrolled in the PFP course

Monday, September 24

Graduate Life Center

Presentation and workshop in Communicating Science for annual conference participants

November 29-December 2

San Diego, California

Hosted by the Department of Geosciences, this documentary film and panel discussion is open to the public free of charge.

September 20, 4 p.m.

Lyric Theatre

Improvisation for Scientists: Preparation for Science Festival exhibitors

October 12, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Newman Library multi-purpose room

Improvisation for Scientists: Prepare for the Nutshell Games and join us for pizza! 

October 16, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center


Mark your calendars for the third annual Nutshell Games: 90-second research talks by Virginia Tech graduate students. Presenter applications will open in late September!

October 27, 4:30 p.m.

Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center

Recent Events

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

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

August 23, 5:30 p.m.

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

July 26, 5:30 p.m.

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

June 28, 5:30 p.m.

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

May 24, 5:30 p.m.

William Rhoades and Sid Roy: Lessons from Flint

April 23, 5:30 p.m.

James Wilson:  Honeybees and Beekeeping

March 26, 5:30 p.m.

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

February 26, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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

January 22, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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

November 27, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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

October 23, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Abi Tyson: ""Transforming Football Helmet Design" 

September 25, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Marc Stern: "How to Build Trust" 

August 28, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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

May 6, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg