Virginia Tech®home

Communicating Science Week 2022

Welcome to Communicating Science Week!

We are delighted to welcome you to Communicating Science Week!  We're celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Center for Communicating Science with an exciting slate of activities happening both on and off Virginia Tech's campuses. Scholar and author Dr. Elin Kelsey's keynote address at the Moss Arts Center March 18, "Hope Matters: Why Overcoming Doom and Gloom is Essential to Achieving Climate Justice,"  will be a highlight of the week. You also won't want to miss

and much more. In fact, the week is now officially longer than a week! You'll find all events listed below in chronological order. Please join us where and when you can!

This image shows a blue toned piece of art with black-sketched people (3) and a large fish. Yellow-yolked transparent fish eggs are floating in the picture.
Don't miss the SciArt Collaboration talk s at 12 and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16! Bluehead Chub, eggs, and friends by Hiromi Okumura.

Tuesday, March 15th

7 p.m. Staged Reading: "Rhino 2020"

Can a town full of rhinoceros and human citizens coexist, particularly as their town's primary crop output dwindles? This new work explores the intersection of social extremism and environmental degradation, drawing inspiration from Eugene Ionesco’s classic piece of absurdist theatre to look at what is happening to human ethics in the face of our modern climate crisis. Rhino 2020 "reminds people that they have the free will to change course," says playwright and geosciences graduate student Ali Namayandeh. Join Namayandeh, theatre MFA student Rachel Nunn, and a full cast for this staged reading.

This event is open to the public without charge, but we request that you reserve your ticket at: https://bit.ly/3Hb6uok.

Location: Haymarket Theatre, Squires Student Center

     

This image is pale blue, a map of Governors Island in New York City. Superimposed on the map are the black letters "Oyster City: AR Walking Tour & Game.:
Join us at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, for a talk by Meredith Drum, interdisciplinary artist and faculty member in the Virginia Tech School of Visual Arts, who created the augmented reality app "Oyster City." Image courtesy of Meredith Drum.

Wednesday, March 16th

9 a.m. Workshop: "Distilling Your Research Message"

This 2-hour interactive and in-person workshop for Materials Science Engineering graduate students and faculty will be led by Center for Communicating Science faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin. Hosted by the MSE's Engineering Communications Program, the workshop will help participants learn powerful techniques for identifying and articulating the essence of their research.  

12 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: "Invasive Exegesis: Shedding Light on the Impacts of Invasive Plants in Appalachia"

Do you know what's growing in your garden? On the side of the road? Or in your favorite spot in Jefferson National Forest? Join plant ecologist Dr. Jacob Barney and multimedia artist David Franusich as they present their SciArt Collaboration work creating a multi-sensory art installation to illuminate the socio-ecological impacts of invasive plant species in Appalachia, exploring both the connection between people and invasive plants and the consequences of the unchecked spread of these species.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

12:30 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: “Discover Chub – Builders of Deerfield Trail” 

Learn about how graduate students are being included not only in research about the Bluehead Chub but also in creating artistic representations of this research. This presentation about the SciArt Collaboration between fish and wildlife conservation faculty member Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong and his lab and Dr. Eugene Maurakis, C. Meranda Flachs-Surmanek, and Hiromi Okumura will teach you about a fascinating fish and the value of collaboration.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

Oyster City AR is an augmented reality walking tour and game featuring the rise and fall and rise of oysters in New York City and its surrounding estuaries. Created by interdisciplinary artist Meredith Drum, the AR app is focused on the ecology of the harbor in relation to oysters as keystone species and economic, historical, and social product. It highlights the importance of oyster reefs as potential flood blockers and agents of bioremediation. Participants are invited to visit nine key sites across Governors Island, NYC, where they can interact with AR elements, 3-D virtual objects visible through the camera on a mobile device, as well as audio and texts. The project allows participants to learn and play as they explore the island's coastline. In this talk, Drum will describe her creation process and show documentation of Oyster City AR working on Governors Island in New York City.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall, 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg; Performance Room C

     

This photo shows a table with a couple dozen ping pong bats arranged around the perimeter. Each bat has a black surface with white writing on it.
What do ping pong balls and bats have to do with community wealth building? Join Steven Licardi and Ralph Hall at noon on Thursday to find out. Image courtesy of Ralph Hall.

Thursday, March 17th

12 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: "From Ping Pong to Community Wealth & Collaboration"

Learn about alternatives to our current economic system through ping pong and theater performances in this SciArt Collaboration presentation by Ralph Hall and Steven T. Licardi.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

3:30 p.m. Workshop: "Communicating Science for Watershed Assessment, Management, and Policy"

Effective written and oral communication is critical in the process of effectively assessing and managing our water resources. Graduate student and Center for Communicating Science advisory board member Erika Goldsmith will help students in Virginia Tech's watershed assessment course build their communication skills in this interactive presentation. 

4 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: “Artistic Exploration of Children's Cognitive Development: Who Can Be a Scientist?” 

Do you want to learn how childhood psychological research can be transformed through multiple artistic processes like music, video production, and poetry? Join Dr. Vanessa Diaz, Zach Duer, Erika Meitner, Dr. Charles Nichols, and Ariana Wyatt for this SciArt Collaboration presentation and learn about the development of science identity in children, too!

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

5 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: “The Urgent Marvels of Coastal Science Exhibition” 

Come see the aerial acrobatics that helped engineers  talk to residents of Duck, North Carolina, about storm impacts and climate change. Aerial arts and science collide in this interactive exhibition! Civil and environmental engineering faculty member Dr. Nina Stark and aerial performance artist Lynsey Grace Wyatt lead this SciArt Collaboration presentation addressing climate change and storm impacts in North Atlantic coastal communities. Together they will demonstrate how art can elevate the vital efforts of scientific research, asking viewers to ponder the impact of coastal storms and the impact and urgency of these shifts.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

     

This photo shows a middle aged white woman with reddish brown short hair and a long-sleeved white top seated on the ground with a blurred outdoorsy background. She is smiling at the camera and has her arms wrapped around her knee.
Author and scholar Dr. Elin Kelsey will speak at 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the Moss Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Agathe Bernard.

Friday, March 18th

9 a.m. ICAT Play Date: "SciArt Fusion: Discoveries from Experiments in SciArt Collaboration"

Do science and art go together like peanut butter and jelly? Join us in the Creativity and Innovation District Living and Learning Community common space for a 30-minute tour through eight SciArt collaborations. Come at 8:30 for coffee and doughuts! Program begins at 9. Registration not required; livestreaming available through the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) website.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg

12 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: “Thinking Like an Aspen: Enhancing Resiliency Through Transnational Coalitions” 

How do people navigate crises, especially when the government and other forms of support stop functioning? English faculty member Dr. Sweta Baniya and her students have explored this question by looking at Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, wildfires in California, and many more moments of disaster. We invite you to experience some of what their research has uncovered with the help of an audio journey created by Baniya and Daniel Bird Tobin. Come find out why disaster response and community-building should be more like a forest of aspens.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Developmental Psychology Brown Bag: "Communicating Science and Identity"

Join psychology faculty member Dr. Vanessa Diaz and theatre faculty Mason Rosenthal and Laura Epperson for an interactive workshop that explores communication, audience, and identity. Through play and storytelling we’ll experiment with how to distill and communicate research with clarity, creativity, and consideration for audience identity. 

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: 134 Williams Hall 

12:30 p.m. SciArt Collaboration: “Building Personal Resilience for Engineers Through Dance Training”

Find out more about how dance and movement training can help engineering students gain confidence and improve interpersonal communication by simulating new social experiences in the field. This SciArt Collaboration presentation is led by Dr. Nina Stark from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Rachel Rugh from the Department of Theatre and Cinema here at Virginia Tech.

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

4 p.m. Staged Reading: "Rhino 2020"

Can a town full of rhinoceros and human citizens coexist, particularly as their town's primary crop output dwindles? This new work explores the intersection of social extremism and environmental degradation, drawing inspiration from Eugene Ionesco’s classic piece of absurdist theatre to look at what is happening to human ethics in the face of our modern climate crisis. Rhino 2020 "reminds people that they have the free will to change course," says playwright and geosciences graduate student Ali Namayandeh. Join Namayandeh, theatre MFA student Rachel Nunn, and a full cast for this staged reading.

This event is open to the public without charge, but we request that you reserve your ticket at: https://bit.ly/3Hb6uok.

Location: Haymarket Theatre, Squires Student Center

4 p.m. Friday Friends: Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim 

Join author Elin Kelsey and illustrator Soyeon Kim for an informal conversation about their artistic collaboration on picture books and the recent short animated film "Breathe." Kim, a Korean-born artist and educator currently living in Ontario, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and Bachelor of Education from York University. Educator and scholar Kelsey has written both for adults and for children. Kelsey and Kim have worked together to create You Are Stardust, A Last Goodbye, and You Are Never Alone

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Creativity and Innovation District (CID) residence hall common space (first floor), 185 Kent Street, Blacksburg.

 "Hope lies in the capacity of stories to transform," says author and scholar Dr. Elin Kelsey, and she'll be sharing stories of hope with us at 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the Moss Arts Center. Kelsey is a leading spokesperson, scholar, and educator in the area of evidence-based hope. Her work focuses on the reciprocal relationship between humans and the rest of nature, and she has a particular interest in the emotional implications of the narrative of environmental doom and gloom on children and adults. Passionate about bringing science-based stories of hope and multi-species resilience to the public, Kelsey has worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and the Rockefeller Foundation. As an adjunct faculty member of the University of Victoria School of Environmental Studies, she is spearheading the development of a solutions-oriented paradigm for educating environmental scientists and social scientists. Kelsey is the author of Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis. Join us for Kelsey's message of evidence-based hope and engage with her during the question-and-answer period following her talk.

This event is open to the public without charge.

Location: Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg. Please check the MAC website for mask, vaccination, and Covid testing requirements. 

     

This photo shows a group of young adults lined up on a stage with a large screen behind them that reads Center for Communicating Science's Nutshell Games.
Join us at the Moss Arts Center at 4 p.m. March 19 for the Nutshell Games! Thirty graduate students each have 90 seconds to share their research. Photo from fall 2017 event.

Saturday, March 19th

9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ComSciCon-VA Tech 2022

Virginia Tech graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and upper level undergraduates will be participating in ComSciCon-Va Tech 2022, with concurrent workshops all day March 19. ComSciCon, a conference planned by graduate students for graduate students, is designed to empower early career researchers to communicate complex and technical concepts to broad and diverse audiences.

10 a.m. We Are Stardust: A Storytime Celebration of Our Planet

When was the last time something in nature surprised you? Scared you? Made you excited? Author and speaker Elin Kelsey’s work is about finding hope and joy in the face of our ever-changing natural world. Pick up your take-and-make story time kit based on Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim's book You Are Stardust from the Blacksburg Public Library. With this take-home packet of activities, crafts, and art supplies, create your own story time at home. While supplies last!

Target audience: kindergarten through second grade.

Blacksburg Public Library, 200 Miller Street

Note: This event will also take place as an in-person story time at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Meadowbrook Library, 267 Alleghany Spring Road, Shawsville, VA 24162. Please join Rachel Nunn, Virginia Tech theatre master of fine arts student, and Tricia Rushing, PhD student in Integrative STEM Education at Virginia Tech, for story time!

Come hear 30 engaging 90-second research talks! This friendly presentation competition features a panel of judges, including a 7th grader, a public audience (that's you!), and 30 courageous Virginia Tech graduate students who have distilled their research into a mere 90 seconds. Five winners receive $500 each, and everyone has fun!

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg. Please check the MAC website for mask, vaccination, and Covid testing requirements.  Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test may be required; check Moss Arts Center website for updates.

     

Sunday, March 20th

No events scheduled. Have a lovely day!

Take some time to watch Mónica Feliú Mójer's webinar "Culturally Relevant SciComm." Are we sharing our research only with people who look and sound just like us?

For a quick tour of some exciting opportunities for and outstanding examples of community engagement and outreach, watch "Communicating Science: Celebrating Opportunities and Outreach," featuring nine flash talks by Virginia Tech faculty and graduate students.

Let's also spend a few minutes today thinking about some of Virginia Tech's HUGE (and hugely successful) outreach events: the annual Science Festival, Hokie Bugfest, Kids Tech University, Hokie for a Day, STEM summer camps, and the Virginia/Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine annual Open House! All are opportunities for Virginia Tech researchers to share their work with people outside their fields, young and old. 

If you still need more related to communicating science today, read all about the history of the center on the Get to Know Us page or check out our newsletter!

     

This photo shows a young white woman with curly dark hair, a white blouse, and a brown necklace. She is smiling at the camera.
Virginia Tech's Career & Professional Development assistant director Alyssa Rametta will help graduate students think through communicating their research in resumes, applications, interviews, and job talks in an online workshop Monday, March 21.

Monday, March 21st

1 p.m. Workshop: "How to Communicate Science in Your Job Search"

In this 1-hour online workshop, students will learn strategies for communicating science in a job search. We’ll cover every aspect of a job search (for academic, government, and industry), from writing an effective resume and cover letter, to your LinkedIn brand, and all the way to the final interview “job talk.” This workshop is presented by Alyssa Rametta, a Career Advisor for the Graduate School and Assistant Director for Career and Professional Development. Register here.

Location: online.

     

Tuesday, March 22nd

No events scheduled. Check out our Research stories page!

Do you have a story about your work that you'd like to share? Or an audience that would enjoy reading about research? Take a look at these stories, written by Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students and post-docs. 

Need help communicating about your research? Take a look at our Resources page.

Or enroll in GRAD 5144, our graduate-level Communicating Science course; TA 2404, our undergraduate Introduction to Applied Collaborative Techniques course; or contact us about our workshops and intensives. You can sign up for our newsletter mailing list, too! 

Get inspired by the exciting outreach and community engagement projects that others are doing!

Virginia Tech researchers are great at sharing their work. Here are just a few inspiring projects:

School of Education professor John Wells and graduate students are working with Blacksburg Middle School 7th graders, allowing them discover and solve real-life problems in using STEMbots to care for plants and introducing them to programming, design, and 3D printing along the way. 

Invasive plants researcher Jacob Barney and artist and multimedia designer David Franusich teamed up to bring attention to locally invasive species in an innovative manner, projecting images on the trees and shrubs.

Undergraduate Mariam Hasan used artistic data visualizations, videos, and text interwoven in a linear flow to illustrate racial health disparities. By incorporating imagery and activist voices from the Black Lives Matter protests, Hasan illustrated the  underlying social conditions causing disparities.

Last fall, assistant professor Erin Hotchkiss and professor Ignacio Moore, both of Biological Sciences, led an excursion with undergraduate students from Derring Hall to the Duck Pond as they hosted their first #VTBioWalk.

Combining education, networking, and sightseeing, the Annual Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tours have provided the opportunity to learn about sustainable forestry and wildlife management for over 40 years.

A summer project for Roanoke middle schoolers engaged them in citizen science, with assistant professor Theo Lim and graduate student Max Dillon guiding students to collect urban temperature and thermal comfort data and make proposals for cooling exceptionally hot areas of the city.

A new partnership between Virginia Tech and Alexandria city schools introduces STEM to elementary school children with the distribution of micro:bit equipment to 5th graders.

Environmental nanoscientist Matthew Hull and assistant professor Justin Perkinson use virtual reality to try to "explain and make people aware of" the issues affecting freshwater mussels.

 

 

     

This photo shows about 20 people sitting in a large indoor space. One person is standing and speaking into a microphone.
Join us at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, Rising Silo Brewery, for a very special Science on Tap!

Wednesday, March 23rd

5:30 p.m. Science on Tap: "Science! Music! Art! On Tap!"

At this event, art and music meet science in a one-of-a-kind gallery exhibition. Come see art painted by  graduate student researchers as part of the Science on Canvas project. And check out the winning posters from Flip the Fair, where kids judged grad students on their science! The band Cozette and the 5ths, a group of researchers and IT gurus who also play classic pop and rock favorites, will keep us entertained during this gallery-themed evening. Join us at  to learn more about Science on Canvas, Flip the Fair, and Cozette and the 5ths!

This event is open to the public without charge. 

Location: Rising Silo Brewery, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg, VA