Our workshop experiences have reached more than 5,000 participants

As word got out that this approach to connection, collaboration, and communication was available (and effective and fun!), requests for workshops started popping up. And as graduate students completed the course, often they requested workshops for their labs or graduate student clubs. Over the past eight years we have responded to requests from many  departments and groups. Here's a sampling:

Dean of the Graduate School Karen DePauw's commitment to the "improvisation for scientists" approach to improving communication led her to incorporate a three-hour workshop into her Preparing the Future Professoriate (PFP) graduate course. This introduction to the importance of communicating with people outside one's specialty--and to the improv approach--has now been presented to 17 PFP cohorts, once each semester since Fall 2011 when Center Director Patty Raun had just returned from the Alan Alda Center weeklong summer institute.

In 2013 Center Director Patty Raun participated in Virginia Tech's TEDx event, and she took the opportunity to develop a talk on one of her favorite subjects: transformational empathy. In a world of increasing social isolation, empathy is on the decline, studies show. A balance between analytic thinking and empathetic thinking, Patty argued in her talk, is essential to making the important decisions that will shape the future of our world. How can we achieve that? "I believe that arts education and practice can help us rebalance our society," Patty declared from the TEDx stage. "No tool is more important to our survival than the desire to see through someone else's eyes."

You can watch the talk here.

Our graduate student workshops all are by invitation, either from faculty members eager to include a communicating science component in a course or seminar they're teaching or from graduate students who have taken GRAD 5144 (Communicating Science) and want to share some of what they learned with their colleagues or club members.

10/3/2019 Best Practices for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy (Interdisciplinary Techniques: Overcoming Lingo and Building on Yes) 

9/27/2019 Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine Track (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

4/24/2019 Translational Biology, Medicine and Health program (Improvisation for Scientists)

4/12/2019 Public Health program (Communicating Science)

3/7/2019-3/8/2019 ComSciCon-Virginia Tech

2/27/2019 First generation graduate students, Office of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion (How to Communicate What I Do)

1/30/2019 College of Natural Resources and Environment (Presenting Science for CNRE Graduate Students)

11/30/2018 Department of Agricultural Economics Food and Health Economics lab (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

11/16/2018 Department of biological sciences--Stream Team (Distilling Your Message)

11/9/2018 Computer science graduate student association (Building Community)

11/8/2018 Chemistry department--Amanda Morris lab (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

10/27/2018 Nutshell Games: 90-second research talks (Moss Arts Center)

10/16/2018 Nutshell Games prep workshop

9/19/2018 Pecha Kucha Night (Town of Blacksburg Sustainability Week collaboration)

9/5/2018 Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine course (Introduction to Communicating Science)

5/1/2018 Building Construction Science and Management graduate research seminar (Introduction to Communicating Science)

4/25/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Writing for a Public Audience, part 2)

4/24/2018 Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists) 

4/18/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Writing for a Public Audience, part 1)

4/11/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop  Series (The Art of Presentations)

4/5/2018 Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Translational Biology  (Storytelling with Data)

4/4/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Storytelling with Data)

4/3/2018 and 4/10/2018 Interdisciplinary Graduate Professional Development Seminar (“Mini Nutshell Games”)  

3/27/2018 Biological Systems Engineering grad students (18) (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

3/21/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Raise Your Science Profile with Social Media)

3/19/2018 Food Science and Technology graduate students (30)  (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

3/14/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Science Stories for Kids)

2/28/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Using Twitter for Science Communication)

2/16/2018 Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate students (55) in Jennifer Irish’s seminar (Improvisation for Scientists)

2/7/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Raise Your Science Profile with Social Media) 

2/5/2018 Plant Translational Biology students (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

1/31/2018 Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (Using Twitter for Science Communication) 

1/17/2018 Wonderful Wednesday Workshop Series (Using Twitter for Science Communication)

11/4/2017 Nutshell Games: 90-second research talks (Moss Arts Center)

11/1/2017 Landscape architecture/Architecture PhD Colloquium series (Writing for a Variety of Audiences) 

10/24/2017 Nutshell Games prep workshop

10/20/2017 Science Festival exhibitors' workshop (Improvisation for Scientists)

10/4/2017 and 10/11/2017 John Matson Chemistry Research Group (Improvisation for Scientists; Collaboration)

4/20/2017 A. Morris Chemistry Research Group (Improvisation for Scientists)

2/28/2017 Nutshell Games prep workshop 

12/6/2016 Women in Geosciences (Improvisation for Scientists)

8/31/2016 Research a la Mode (Improvisation for Scientists)

8/9/2016 Plant Physiology, Pathology, and Weed Science (Communicating Science)

7/5/2016 Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (Communicating Science: Interpersonal Communication)

4/27/2016 Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (Communicating Science: Improvisation and Metaphor)

4/4/2016 Graduate School Professional Development Series (Distilling Your Message)

3/4/2016 Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences (Improv for Scientists; Distilling Your Message)

2/26/2016 Engineering Education (Improv for Engineers: Connecting with Others)

11/2/2015 Psychology Graduate Student Club (Communicating Science: Collaboration)

9/9/2015 Research a la Mode (Communicating Science: Improv for Scientists)

2/25/2015 Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health (Communicating Science: Improvisation)

2/3/2015 Renewable Materials Research Group (Communicating Science: Improvisation)

5/6/2014 VT Carilion Medical School (Patient-Centered Communication: Empathy)

2/18/2014 IGEPs (Communicating Scholarship: Personal, Direct, Spontaneous, Responsive Communication)

12/5/2013 Waste Water Lab (Communicating Science: Improvisation)

10/18/2013 Graduate student policy group (Communicating Science; Distilling Your Message)

11/30/2012 Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (Communicating Science: Interpersonal Interaction)

Originally aimed at graduate students, the communicating science work we do is spreading into undergraduate programs and associations. Below is a list of recent undergraduate student workshops we've provided as a result of invitations from faculty, graduate students, club leaders, and others.

10/13/2019 5th year architecture students (Connecting, Communicating, and Collaborating)

7/26/2019 through 8/18/2019 German Fulbright Summer Institute for 20 German undergraduate students (Communicating Across Disciplines: New Approaches for Applied Sciences)

6/12/2019 Translational Obesity Undergraduate Research Scholars  (Communicating Science)

6/7/2019 NSF REU Program in Interdisciplinary Water Science and Engineering (Communicating Science)

5/29/2019 through 8/1/2019 Office of Undergradute Research (Communicating Science for Summer Undergraduate Researchers)

4/1/2019 Office of Undergraduate Research (Communicating Your Research to a Diverse Audience)

4/2/2019 Office of Undergraduate Research (Communicating Your Research to a Diverse Audience)

4/3/2019 Office of Undergraduate Research (Communicating Your Research to a Diverse Audience)

4/9/2019 Office of Undergraduate Research (Communicating Your Research to a Diverse Audience)

4/11/2019 Office of Undergraduate Research (Communicating Your Research to a Diverse Audience)

4/15/2019 Office of Undergraduate Research (Communicating Your Research to a Diverse Audience)

12/5/2018 TLOS (technology-enhanced learning and online strategies) Spark Chat ("Nutshell" pitch workshop)

11/27/2018 FA 2004 Creativity and the Aesthetic Experience (Introduction to Applied Improvisation)

11/27/2018 FA 2004 Creativity and the Aesthetic Experience (Introduction to Applied Improvisation)

11/26/2018 FA 2004 Creativity and the Aesthetic Experience (Introduction to Applied Improvisation)

11/26/2018 FA 2004 Creativity and the Aesthetic Experience (Introduction to Applied Improvisation)

10/23/2018 DaVinci/Curie Living Learning Communities Leadership in Science (Bennett Grooms: Science Communication)

10/10/2018 Third-year landscape architecture students (Communicating Your Work)

10/3/2018 Fifth-year architechture students (Communicating Your Work)

8/21/2018 APEX Global Entrepreneur Challenge (Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn)

8/16/2018 Global Living Learning Community workshop

7/22/2018 through 8/11/2018 German Fulbright Summer Institute for 24 German undergraduate students (Communicating Science: Communication, Collaboration, and Connection across Differences and Disciplines)

6/1/2018 Virginia Tech Research and Extension Experiential Learning program (Introduction to Science Communication)

4/30/2018 Introduction to Food Science course (Improvisation for Scientists)

4/17/2018 GRAD 5144 students present their research to DaVinci/Curie LLC leadership in science course

4/13/2018 Undergraduate Student Experiential Learning Symposium  (Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn)

4/9/2018 Introduction to ICAT undergraduate honors colloquium (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

1/30/2018 DaVinci/Curie Living Learning Communities Leadership in Science (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

10/20/2017 Science Festival exhibitors' workshop (Improvisation for Scientists)

10/4/2017 and 10/11/2017 John Matson chemistry research group (Improvisation for Scientists; Collaboration)

7/23/2017 through 8/12/2017 German Fulbright Summer Institute for 24 German undergraduate students (Communicating Science: Communication, Collaboration, and Connection across Differences and Disciplines)

7/19/2017 Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar Series (Poster Presentations)

7/5/2017 Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar Series (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists) 

4/20/2017 A. Morris Chemistry Research Group (Improvisation for Scientists)

4/10/2017 Introduction to ICAT honors colloquiam (Risk, Fail, Risk)

11/2/2016 Undergraduate researchers seminar (Effective Presentations)

9/27/2016 Galipatia engineering students (Risk/Fail/Risk, for K-12 outreach)

7/13/2016 Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar Series (Effective Poster Presentations)

7/6/2016 Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar Series (Communicating Science: Intro to Improv)

4/19/2016 Iranian Student Association (Communicating across Difference: Connection/Improvisation)

 

Once the Communicating Science graduate course and workshops were underway, Center Director Patty Raun was approached by faculty members from the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) and soon found herself helping to provide communication, collaboration, and leadership training to students in the College of Natural Resources and Environment's Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program in Virginia Tech's National Capitol Region. Since 2013, she has provided course content for the program every semester.

We hope to spread this approach--using tools from the arts to help people connect and communicate more effectively--beyond the university campus. Here is a sampling of workshops and events we've been invited to facilitate or participate in "off campus" or that have brought non-university folks here:

10/24/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Celebrating Women in Science! Members of the local Blacksburg-Radford pod of 500 Women Scientists gave flash talks about their current research)

10/22-10/23/2019 Communicating Science Intensive for NatureNet Fellows and other scientists with The Nature Conservancy at the annual NatureNet Science Fellows meeting and research symposium, Charlottesville, VA 

10/10/2019  2019 Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers Annual Conference (Distilling Your Message)

9/27/2019 The Humorous Side of the Climate Story: A workshop on the bizarre, unexpected, and delightfully weird side of climate change (Sara Peach)

9/26/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Sara Peach: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Climate Change)

8/22/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Maddy Grupper: Public Trust in Drinking Water)

8/4/2019 Voice and Speech Trainers Association annual conference, Orlando (Patty Raun, keynote address, "Let Your Life Speak: The Art of Connecting across Difference")  

7/25/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Carol Davis: "Individual actions or systemic change?"--Thoughts about creating a more sustainable world)

6/27/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Derek Hennen: Millipedes of Virginia)

6/20-22/2019 Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research, New York Institute of Tecnology, New York City (interactive workshop, "Who, what, when, where, how, and why, why, why? Exercises for distilling your message")

6/20-22/2019 Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research, New York Institute of Tecnology, New York City (lightning talk, "Scientists and writers: How a university collaboration (and beyond) shows they're good friends")

6/20-22/2019 Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research, New York Institute of Tecnology, New York City (performance, "Laser")

6/20-22/2019 Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research, New York Institute of Tecnology, New York City (poster presentation, "Communicating Science: An ethnographic study")

6/12/2019 Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop, faculty from Ecuador's Universidad San Francisco de Quito

4/25/2019 Improvisation Laboratory

4/25/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Susan Chen: Let's Talk Trash: Why Food Waste Matters)

3/28/2019 Improvisation Laboratory

3/25/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (James Costa: Darwin's Backyard "Experimentising")

3/ 12/2019 Entomological Society of America Eastern Branch conference (Get Out of the Elevator! Succinct and Compelling Interactions with the Public)

2/28/2019 Improvisation Laboratory

2/25/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Brenen Wynd: "Almost all my friends are dead": What does paleontology tell us about extinction?)

2/12/2019 BioXFEL 2019 (a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center international conference) Keynote address and engagement: "What's in a Nutshell? Brief Compelling Interactions with the Public," San Diego, CA

1/31/2019 Roanoke Higher Education Center Facts and Snacks (Powerful Tools from the Arts: Developing Communication Skills)

1/29/2019 Shandong University visiting scholars (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

1/28/2019 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Sihui Ma: The Science of Fermented Drinks)

12/5/2018 TLOS (technology-enhanced learning and online strategies) Spark Chat ("Nutshell" pitch workshop)

11/30/2018 American Society of Consulting Arborists presentation and workshop: Connecting Across Differences. San Diego, CA 

11/26/2018 Advancing the Human Condition Symposium, Coastal CoLab Presentation (Nicole Dietze, Al Evangelista, Brittney Harris, Daniel Bird Tobin)

11/26/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Rajesh Bagchi: What's the Better Deal? The Science of Purchasing Decisions)

11/1/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Michelle Stocker: Detectives at Work--The Case of the Embedded Tooth)

10/27/2018 Nutshell Games: 90-second research talks (Moss Arts Center) 

10/12/2018 Science Festival exhibitors workshop (Improvisation for Scientists)

9/27/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Erica Feuerbacher: Old dog? New Tricks! Animal Behavior with Erica Feuerbacher)

9/19/2018 Pecha Kucha Night (Town of Blacksburg Sustainability Week collaboration)

8/23/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Debby Good: Is "23andMe" for You? The Promise and Peril of Genetic Testing)

8/21/2018 to 8/23/2018 National Science Foundation Science and Technology Centers Directors Meeting presentation (Communicating Science: The Art of Connecting Across Difference) and workshop (Improvisation for Scientists) 
for directors, faculty, and post-docs from across the United States. Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, Berkeley, CA

7/26/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Tom Ewing: Booze and Flu(s): Science and Spirits in the 1918 Spanish Influenza)

7/22/2018 through 8/11/2018 German Fulbright Summer Institute for 24 German undergraduate students (Communicating Science: Communication, Collaboration, and Connection across Differences and Disciplines)

6/28/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Brynn O'Donnell and Robin Scully: Ghost Streams and Painting Water)

6/27/2018 Universities Council on Water Resources/National Institutes of Water Resources conference presentation: Building communication and collaboration skills, from the inside out. Pittsburgh, PA

6/25/2018 Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop, faculty from Ecuador's Universidad San Francisco de Quito

5/24/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Nick Caruso: Does It Fart?)

5/3/2018 and 5/4/2018 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry regional meeting, Memphis, Tennessee (The Art of Communicating Science)

4/2/2018 Mid-Atlantic Mitosis Meeting (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)

4/23/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Sid Roy and William Rhoades: Is Your Tap Water Safe? The Story of Flint (and America) )

2/26/2018 "An Evening with Science Comedian Brian Malow," Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center (589 in audience)

2/26/2018 "A Science Comedian's Guide to Communicating Science," Vet-Med Commons, Virginia/Maryland School of Veterinary Medicine (75-100 in audience)

2/25/2018 "The Role of the University in an Era of Science Skepticism and 'Fake News,'" Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center (panel discussion, 175 in audience)

1/22/2018 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Kwame Harrison: Experiencing Blackness in Defiantly White Spaces--in a Car)

11/27/2017 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Jake Socha: Flying and gliding creatures)

11/14/2017 Strengthening Your Communication Skills: Exercises to Build Rapport (presentation at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America 38th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN)

11/4/2017 Nutshell Games: 90-second research talks (Moss Arts Center)

10/23/2017 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Marcella Kelly research group: Camera traps and poop)

10/20/2017 Science Festival exhibitors workshop (Improvisation for Scientists)

9/25/2017 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Abi Tyson: Football helmet safety)

9/16/2017 interactive session at CESTEMER 2017, Chicago (Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research)

9/15/2017 keynote address at the national conference of the Educational Theatre Association, September 15, Nashville, TN

8/28/2017 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Marc Stern: How to build trust)

7/22/2017 through 8/12/17  German Fulbright summer institute for 24 German undergraduate students (Communicating Science: Communication, Collaboration, and Connection Across Differences and Disciplines) 

5/6/2017 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Caitlin Colleary, Anza Mitchell, Max Ragozzino: paleontology, engineering, insects)

5/1/2017  Communicating Science: Intro to Improv workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Mitosis Meetings, American Association for Cell Biology 

4/24/2017 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Bill Hopkins: Hellbenders) 

4/12-14/2017 Invited residency at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (Communicating across Difference; Leadership; Empathy; and Connection)

2/27/2017 Workshop for Virginia Tech Global Change Center faculty (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists) 

2/22-23/2017 workshop for Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society (Communicating Science: The Art of Connecting across Difference)

10/3/2016 Southwest Virginia STEM Summit  (Communicating Science: Games for Classrooms)

7/7/2016 University San Francisco di Quito (Ecuador) (Communicating Science: Improvisation)

3/30/2016 AACCS/Pew Research (Distilling Your Message)

3/29/2016 AACCS/Pew Research (Improvisation for Scientists)

11/6/2015 A2RU (Assessing Transdisciplinary Work: Panel/Effective Assessment)

10/20/2015 Virginia Science Festival (Improvisation for Scientists)

6/28/2015 United Methodist Church (Audience Engagement: Communication for Liturgists and Clergy)

1/10/2012 Blacksburg High School National History Day (Effective Presentations: Effective Audience Contact)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 – Using Twitter for Science Communication. Anne Hilborn.

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018  Writing a Press Release. Cassandra Hockman.

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018  – What to Do When a Reporter Calls. Cassandra Hockman.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 – Raise Your Science Profile with Social Media. Anne Hilborn.

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 –  Communicating Research: Improvisation for Scientists and Scholars. Carrie Kroehler and Patty Raun.

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 – Using Twitter for Science Communication. Anne Hilborn.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Science Stories for Kids. Carrie Kroehler.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 – Raise Your Science Profile with Social Media. Anne Hilborn.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 – Design for Impact: Tips, Tricks and Feedback – Posters, Text, PowerPoint. Meaghan Dee.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – Storytelling with Data. Liz Allen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – The Art of Presentations. Greg Justice.

Wednesday, April 18 and Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – Writing for a Public Audience. Cassandra Hockman. 

This is a photograph of a group of students

Three chemistry graduate students received a warm Hokie welcome when they traveled to Eastern Middle School in Giles County to talk to sixth graders about polymer chemistry.

Undergrad 6

Twenty Virginia Tech Galipatia members, sophomores majoring in engineering, played games that help participants celebrate mistakes, take risks, risk again after failing, and keep the group action going.