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."
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.
Check back to see who our next speaker is! We'll be having a Science on Tap event at
5:30 p.m., July 25
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be a RALM speaker next fall.
"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. The exhibit will be on display until Saturday, August 4, 2019.
Center director Patty Raun will give 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
Center director Patty Raun will give a presentation, "Improvisation: A Tool for Weaving Social Fabric," at the Applied Improvisation Network 2019 World Conference
Stony Brook University, New York
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
Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop for visiting faculty and scholars, June 12
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
Center director Patty Raun provided a presentation and workshop, "Connecting across Differences," for annual conference participants
November 29-December 2
San Diego, California
Center director Patty Raun provided a presentation, "Communicating science: The art of connecting across difference," and workshop, "Improvisation for scientists"
August 21-23, Berkeley, CA
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