Spring Semester Workshop Series Registration Open

Are you interested in making stronger connections with audiences? The Center for Communicating Science will present a series of workshops this semester intended to sharpen your skills of connection, whether in person, on social media, in writing, or with data. The workshops, on Wednesday evenings throughout the spring 2018 semester, are intended for scientists, researchers, Virginia Tech faculty and staff members, and students. Join us!

Anne Hilborn, who knows how to tell a story on Twitter and  won fame with #fieldworkfail (see the Washington Post coverage), will lead the series with a Twitter workshop January 17. Also on offer are workshops on writing for public audiences, data visualization, working with press releases, and more. Each workshop will focus on a specific topic and is geared toward a specific segment of our community.

Center director Patty Raun, associate director Carrie Kroehler, theatre department associate professor Greg Justice, and faculty fellows Elizabeth Allen, Meaghan Dee, Anne Hilborn, and Cassandra Hockman will serve as workshop facilitators.  

The center's faculty fellow program is intended to provide additional opportunities for skill development and  to leverage university resources. In addition, we hope that it will foster collaborations and strengthen relationships among people working  in diverse ways to communicate to diverse audiences.

Allen, a program associate in Virginia Tech’s Institute of Policy and Governance, will be sharing her expertise in Excel and all things data with workshop participants. Dee is an assistant professor in the School of Visual Arts whose focus on branding, typography, editorial design, and user experience will provide workshop participants with a wide sampling of tips and tricks. Hockman, a communications coordinator at the Fralin Life Science Institute, will  share her expertise in science writing, blogging for scientists, distilling one's message, and science storytelling. Hilborn, a recently minted wildlife PhD on her way to a post-doc, will use her years of experience in using social media for science communication to help workshop participants communicate their research to a wide audience. 

Here's the full list of workshops, with descriptions, participant focus, place, time, and registration links:

Wednesday, Jan. 17 – Using Twitter for Science Communication. Anne Hilborn. Twitter's short visual format and fast pace provides opportunities and challenges in using it for science communication and outreach. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of Twitter and explore the ways it can be used to network with other scientists and communicate with the public. We will talk about effective strategies, potential pitfalls, and how to find your voice as a science communicator. Open to grad students, undergrads, and faculty. Also available on 2/28. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Capacity: 20. Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, Jan 24 - Writing a Press Release. Cassandra Hockman. What are the steps that occur between your lab or field research and the story that shows up in the newspaper? This workshop provides the basics: What is a press release? How is a press release put together? What can researchers do to best prepare a draft or contact a communications officer at Virginia Tech? This workshop explains the overall process of getting research findings out of the lab, office, or field and into the greater world. Open to graduate students and faculty. Place: Graduate Life Center, Conference Room C. Capacity: 25. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, Jan. 31  – What to Do When a Reporter Calls. Cassandra Hockman. This workshop provides helpful tips for researchers whose work gets the attention of the media. What do you do when a reporter calls? How do you organize your thoughts and materials? What are useful strategies for getting your message across clearly? What input do you have between your interview and the story's appearance? This workshop will help you help journalists to tell your story accurately and engagingly. Open to graduate students and faculty. Place: Graduate Life Center, Conference Room C. Capacity: 25. Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 7Raise Your Science Profile with Social Media. Anne Hilborn. Social media provides a way for graduate students and early career scientists to network, do outreach, and raise the profile of their work with peers, potential collaborators, and employers. In this workshop we will explore various strategies for creating a consistent profile across multiple social media platforms, blogging about your work, and having an engaging professional website. Open to graduate students and early career scientists. Also available on 3/21. Place: Graduate Life Center, Conference Room C. Capacity: 30. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day – Go do something nice for someone!

 

Wednesday, Feb. 21Communicating Research: Improvisation for Scientists and Scholars. Carrie Kroehler and Patty Raun. This workshop will introduce participants to improvisation games and exercises to help them connect, communicate, and collaborate across differences. Come learn relaxation techniques, develop awareness of the many ways in which we communicate, tune up your listening skills, work on your eye contact, turn off your inner critic, and have fun! Open only to undergraduate students. Capacity: 20. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 28Using Twitter for Science Communication. Anne Hilborn. Twitter's short visual format and fast pace provides opportunities and challenges in using it for science communication and outreach. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of Twitter and explore the ways it can be used to network with other scientists and communicate with the public. We will talk about effective strategies, potential pitfalls, and how to find your voice as a science communicator. Open to grad students, undergrads, and faculty. Also available on 1/17. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Capacity: 20. Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, March 7 – Spring Break – Rest up or catch up!

 

Wednesday, March 14 Science Stories for Kids. Carrie Kroehler. The Center for Communicating Science has launched a kindergarten science outreach project, and we'd love to add science picture books by Virginia Tech researchers to our program. Come try your hand at getting your research into 29 pages--with only a sentence or two per page! No preparation necessary; we'll talk about story, characters, sentence length and structure, word choice, and more. If you've got photos of yourself and colleagues engaged in research, bring them along. Bonus: once you can explain your research to a 5-year-old, you'll be able to explain it to anyone! Open to faculty and graduate and undergraduate students engaged in research. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Capacity: 20. Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, March 21 – Raise Your Science Profile with Social Media. Anne Hilborn. Social media provides a way for graduate students and early career scientists to network, do outreach, and raise the profile of their work with peers, potential collaborators, and employers. In this workshop we will explore various strategies for creating a consistent profile across multiple social media platforms, blogging about your work, and having an engaging professional website. Open to graduate students and early career scientists. Also available on 2/7. Place: Graduate Life Center, Conference Room C. Capacity: 30. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here.

 

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

Meaghan Dee. Dee, chair of Visual Communication Design, will help participants learn how to best visually communicate their ideas. She will go over some tips and tricks on user experiences, establishing a strong hierarchy, typeface selection, data visualization, and giving presentations. Following the lecture, she will provide hands-on feedback to anyone seeking advice on poster, presentation, print, or digital designs. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Capacity: 20. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, April 4Storytelling with Data. Liz Allen. You've got data. In the digital age, you perhaps have LOTS of data! And it means something to you. But how do you best let others see what it means? The ability to explore the visual representation of data, detect meaningful patterns and trends, and decide how to present them is becoming increasingly critical for communicating your research story. This workshop covers various factors that affect how your findings appear to others. Students will practice using data visualization methodologies by walking through a case study with the instructor and then practicing steps on their own. Open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as to faculty. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Capacity: 20. Time: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, April 11The Art of Presentations. Greg Justice. This workshop shares the techniques that actors use on stage to engage their audiences and demonstrates how the techniques can be used to improve research presentations at professional meetings and conferences. Participants will learn how to avoid nerves both before and during presentations. They will learn how to warm up and prepare and how to use more effective body language and movement to keep audience focus. They will learn non-verbal behaviors and how to use their voice more effectively to make a lasting impression on their audience. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. Place: Fusion Studio, Room 2038, Newman Library. Capacity: 20. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here.

 

Wednesday, April 18 and Wednesday, April 25Writing for a Public Audience. Cassandra Hockman. Are you comfortable with introduction, methods, results, and discussion, but not with essays, op-eds, letters to editors, or magazine writing? This is a two-part workshop on writing for a public audience. Participants will write, revise, and leave the second workshop with a piece they've written that is relevant to their work and communication needs. We'll also explore possible publication venues and talk about the submission process. If you choose, after the session, you are welcome to submit your material for workshopping with Cassandra. Open to graduate students and faculty. Place: Graduate Life Center, Conference Room C. Capacity: 18. Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register here