Applying collaboration & arts practices to help scientists and others learn to tell their stories and connect across differences
At Virginia Tech's Center for Communicating Science, we create and support experiences for scientists, engineers, scholars, and health professionals to build muscles of connection, communication, and collaboration. What sets us apart from other approaches and makes our work effective is that we use the powerful tools of the arts, including embodied learning, deep listening, improvisation, role play, and storytelling.
We believe in the power of play, and we believe that we learn through experience and by reflecting on our experiences.
We aim to help researchers make their communication more personal, direct, spontaneous, and responsive.
Build trust and learn through connection and engagement. Share stories, values, and emotions.
Drop your field-specific jargon; avoid acronyms; find a language in common with your audience.
Learn relaxation and rehearsal techniques to build confidence in your ability to explain your research.
Who is your audience? What do they need? What can you learn from them? How do you connect?
What's happening at the center?
New Center Initiatives Expand Reach and Impact
Center for Communicating Science faculty are looking forward to developing new projects and working with new collaborators this summer. We also appreciate continuing engagement with those we have worked with previously.
Coming up first, on May 19, Center faculty members Patty Raun and Carrie Kroehler will facilitate a day-long intensive for the current cohort of Virginia Tech’s Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows and Research and Innovation Postdoctoral Scholars. This communicating science skill-building experience will be expanded through the summer with online workshops and will culminate in an in-person capstone event early in the fall. This series is being developed in partnership with the university’s Office of Research and Innovation as part of its work to support postdoctoral researchers at Virginia Tech.
June 5, 2023 Communicating Science workshop with the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students (a Fralin Life Sciences Institute training program)
June 11, 2023 "How to Effectively Communicate Research" at the 2023 In Vitro Biology Conference in Norfolk, VA
June 12, 2023 Communicating Science workshop with STEER students (a Department of Chemistry National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program, Students Transforming Energy and Environmental Research)
June 16-17, 24, & 27-28, 2023 Communication and Collaboration workshops with the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) students (a College of Engineering program)
June 21, 2023 Connecting Across Differences workshop with faculty from Ecuador's Universidad San Francisco de Quito and other Central and South American universities
June 26, 2023 Communicating Science workshop with STEER students (a Department of Chemistry National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program, Students Transforming Energy and Environmental Research)
June 26, 2023 Communicating Science workshop with the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students (a Fralin Life Sciences Institute training program)
June 28, 2023 Science on Tap: Tick diversity and ecology in the New River Valley. Join us at 5:30 p.m. at Rising Silo Brewery to learn all about our local tick species from Roanoke College's Megan Steinweg.
Additional Science on Tap topics:
July 26 - Julia Basso and Rachel Rugh: Moving Minds: Dance and Interpersonal Synchrony
August 23 - Matt Gentry: Sketching in Nature
September 28 - Erin Ling: Groundwater Ecology
October 26: - Alex Freeze: The Science of Storytelling: Conservation Media and Connecting People to the Wild
You can read all about the Center for Communicating Science on our newsletter page. Here's some of what we've been up to recently:
5/29/2023 Communicating Science workshop with STEER students (a Department of Chemistry National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program, Students Transforming Energy and Environmental Research)
5/19/2023 Communicating Science Intensive with Virginia Tech's Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows and Research and Innovation Scholars
5/15/2023 Superhero Clubhouse "environment lab," a professional development workshop for Center for Communicating Science community members
5/3/2023 Community Kaleidoscope workshop for the Mid-Atlantic PREP and IMSD Research Symposium
4/26/2023 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Gates Palissery, Carol Davis, Tammie Sarver, Bethany Bookout, Emily Reed: Get Outside! Nature Based Education and Civic Engagement)
4/7/2023 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for visiting Virginia Commonwealth University McNair Scholars
4/6/2023 Science Storytelling workshop for Professional Development and Ethics course, Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health program
4/4/2023 Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn workshop for the graduate student program Mastering Your Future
3/30/2023 Distilling Your Message workshop for Roanoke College
3/28/2023 Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists workshop for Graduate Student Week
3/24/2023 Communicating Across Differences workshop for ACC Meeting of the Minds conference
3/22/2023 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Camilla Hughes: There's No Getting Over It, You Owe Your Life to an Ovary)
3/17/2023 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for visiting East Tennessee State University McNair Scholars
2/22/2023 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Frankie Edwards: Health Care Research in Harm Reduction)
2/14/2023 Connecting Across Differences workshop for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry's Global Women Breakfast
2/9/2023 ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023 Pop-talk workshop with former Nutshell Games winners Viverjita Umashankar, Jennifer Appiah-Kubi, and Jatia Mills
2/8/2023 The Nutshell Games
2/8/2023 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for John Matson Lab and visiting scholar collaborators from Israel, part 2
2/7/2023 ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023 workshop, Once Upon a Time: Turning Science Into Stories with Dr. Deb Carr
2/7/2023 Leadership Presence: Strengthening Person-to-Person Communication Skills workshop for Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources Related Sciences
2/6/2023 ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023 keynote address, Recognizing Science: Anti-racist Science Communication with Dr. Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq
2/6/2023 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for John Matson Lab and visiting scholar collaborators from Israel, part 1
1/31/2023 Nutshell Games preparatory workshop
1/25/2023 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Gretchen Matthews: Defending Against Hackers of the Quantum Future)
1/12/2023 Communicating Science Intensive for Virginia Tech Innovation Campus faculty
1/10/2023 Introduction to Communicating Science Intensive for the Combating Antimicrobial Resistance NSF Research Traineeship program
12/2/2022 Leadership Presence workshop for Virginia Tech George Washington Carver Scholars program
11/30/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Viverjita Umashankar and Isabella Cricco: Sustainability and the Life of Things)
11/17/2022 Communicating Science Intensive for the American Chestnut Foundation, Abingdon, VA
11/11/2022 Using Oral History Interviews to Expand Perspectives and Preserve Historically Excluded Narratives in STEM (presentation at Cultivating Ensembles 2022)
11/10/2022 SciArt Collaborations: Joys, Challenges, and Lessons Learned (presentation and workshop at Cultivating Ensembles 2022)
11/7/2022 six graduate student flash talks at Virginia Tech Graduate School HBCU/MSI Research Summit
11/7/2022 Introduction to Communicating Science, workshop for Preparing the Future Professoriate course
11/6/2022 networking mini-workshop for Virginia Tech Graduate School HBCU/MSI Research Summit
11/3/2022 Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn, workshop for Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine students
10/26/2022 Communicating Science (GRAD 5144) students talk about their research with fifth graders as part of Hokie for a Day at the Moss Arts Center
10/26/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Taylor Spellman and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council: Innovation is our Future)
10/24/2022 Communicating Science (GRAD 5144) students talk about their research with sixth and seventh graders at Eastern Elementary/Middle School, Giles County
10/19/2022 Science journalist Ed Yong spent a precious hour with 50-60 graduate students to talk about his career path and more.
10/18/2022 "Nutshell Talks" at the evening reception of the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship annual conference, Blacksburg, Virginia.
8/30/2022-10/18/2022 National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program communicating science workshops, weekly and culminating in research talks at the annual NSF NRT conference October 18-19.
9/28/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Doyee Byun: A Deep Dive Into Deep Space: All About the James Webb Telescope)
8/24/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Doug Pfeiffer and Jason Bielski: How to Prepare for the Arrival of Spotted Lanternflies)
8/22/2022 Welcome back workshop, Center for Enhancing Engineering Diversity, for new undergraduate and graduate students
8/21/22 Leadership workshop for Transfer Student Community
8/21/2022 Welcome back workshop, Center for Enhancing Engineering Diversity, for new undergraduate and graduate students
8/16/2022 Introduction to Communicating Science, a workshop for graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Post Baccalaureate Research and Education Program; Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program; and George Washington Carver Assistantship Program
8/14/2022 Communicating Across Differences, a workshop for the Mozaiko Intercultural Living-Learning Community student leaders and mentors
8/4/2022 Who and Why?, a workshop for Gear Up!, a Virginia Tech Graduate School program
7/27/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Brew Zoo with John Muller)
7/20/2022 Distilling Your Message, workshops for summer undergraduate research students
7/13/2022 through 8/6/2022 German Fulbright Program: Connecting, Communicating, and Collaborating Across Differences: New Approaches for Applied Sciences, on campus at Virginia Tech
7/11/2022 Communicating Science part 3, workshop for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows
6/28/2022 Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists, a workshop for visiting scholars from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and additional scholars from Chile and Guatemala
6/27/2022 Communicating Science part 2, workshop for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows
6/22/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Building Soils for a Healthy Life)
6/17/2022 through 7/28/2022 Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity summer camp workshops for skill building in leadership, communication, and collaboration.
6/6/2022 Communicating Science part 1, workshop for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows
6/1/2022 National Science Foundation grant supporting ABD graduate students: Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists
5/2/2022 World premiere of In the Burrow of Science (2022), Charles Nichols (b. 1967) (7:55); Vanessa Diaz, research; Erika Meitner, poetry; Zach Duer, video; Ariana Wyatt, soprano; John Irrera, violin; Ben Wyatt, cello; Annie Stevens, marimba.
4/27/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Lyme Disease in the New River Valley with Dr. Brandon Jutras)
4/8/2022 Transfer Student Peer Mentors Program (LIstening, Imagining, Problem Solving with Transfer Student Experiences)
4/2/2022 Meadowbrook Public Library, "We Are Stardust: A Storytime Celebration of our Planet," a story time and art activity
Communicating Science Week! March 15-23: Click here for details about the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Center for Communicating Science.
3/23/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley ("Science! Music! Art! On Tap!" with speakers from Science on Canvas, Flip the Fair, Nutshell Games)
3/21/2022 Workshop: “How to Communicate Science in Your Job Search,” Alyssa Rametta
3/19/2022 Nutshell Games: 30 graduate students give 90-second talks to a panel of judges and a public audience
3/19/2022 Blacksburg Public Library, "We Are Stardust: A Storytime Celebration of our Planet," a take-and-make kit of activities and art supplies
3/19/2022 ComSciCon-VA Tech 2022, a graduate student conference designed to empower early career researchers to communicate complex and technical concepts to broad and diverse audiences
3/18/2022 Keynote Talk: "Hope Matters: Why Overcoming Doom and Gloom Is Essential to Achieving Climate Justice," Dr. Elin Kelsey
3/18/2022 Rhino 2020, a staged reading of a play by geosciences graduate student Ali Namayandeh exploring social unrest in the face of our changing climate
3/18/2022 Friday Friends: a conversation between author Elin Kelsey and illustrator Soyeon Kim
3/18/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “Building Personal Resilience for Engineers Through Dance Training,” Dr. Nina Stark and Rachel Rugh
3/18/2022 Developmental Psychology Brown Bag: "Communicating Science and Identity," Vanessa Diaz, Laura Epperson, and Mason Rosenthal
3/18/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “Thinking Like an Aspen: Enhancing Resiliency Through Transnational Coalitions,” Dr. Sweta Baniya and Daniel Bird Tobin
3/18/2022 ICAT Play Date: "SciArt Fusion: Discoveries from Experiments in SciArt Collaboration"
3/17/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “The Urgent Marvels of Coastal Science Exhibition,” Lynsey Grace Wyatt and Dr. Nina Stark
3/17/2022 SciArt Collaboration: “Artistic Exploration of Children's Cognitive Development: Who Can Be a Scientist?” Dr. Vanessa Diaz, Zach Duer, Erika Meitner, Dr. Charles Nichols, Ariana Wyatt
3/17/2022 SciArt Collaboration: "From Ping Pong to Community Wealth & Collaboration," Ralph Hall and Steven T. Licardi
3/16/2022 SciArt Collaboration: Discover Chub – Builders of Deerfield Trail
3/16/2022 SciArt Collaboration: Invasive Exegesis:Shedding Light on the Impacts of Invasive Plants in Appalachia
3/4-3/6/2022 Science on Canvas at the Taubman Museum of Art.
2/25-27/2022 Science on Canvas at the Taubman Museum of Art.
2/23/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Dr. Andrea Bertke: A Virus Walks Into a Bar…)
2/18/2022 Virginia Tech Life Science Seminars (Communicating Science: Celebrating Opportunities and Outreach)
2/5/2022 Flip the Fair, a graduate student-organized outreach program at the Melrose Branch Library in Roanoke
1/26/2022 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Dr. Ralph Hall and Steven T. Licardi: Exploring Community Wealth Building Through Performance Art)
12/1/2021 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for Virginia Tech juniors and seniors in the course Cognitive Neuroscience
11/17/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Korin Jones: Frog Microbiomes; Erin Ling: Blacksburg's 16 Frogs Project)
11/5/2021 Flip the Fair! Shaping Your Research for Children workshop
11/3/2021 Widening Inclusivity in the (Geo)Sciences presentation (Girls Launch! Providing Female Scientist Role Models to Early Elementary Children)
10/27/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Amber Wendler and Marissa Langager: Bird Where You Live)
9/27/2021 University of Maine, Maine e-DNA, Communicating Science Symposium
9/27/2021 Introduction to Communicating Science workshop for the Preparing the Future Professoriate course
9/22/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Shannon Bell, Christine Labuski, and Cara Daggett: Energy Justice: Why Solar Panels Aren't Enough)
9/10/2021 ICAT Play Date (Girls Launch! A Pandemic Response to Providing Female Scientist Role Models to Children)
9/3/2021 Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (Introduction to Improvisation for Scientists)
9/1/2021 Virginia/Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Topics in Human-Animal Interaction (Describing Basic Procedures, an Interactive Communication Workshop)
8/25/2021 Fralin Life Sciences Institute Communications, Marketing, & Branding Seminar
8/25/2021 Science on Tap, Kristin Rose Jutras: The Poetry of Science Communications
7/19/2021 - 8/13/2021 German Fulbright Summer Institute 2021, “Communicating Across Disciplines: New Approaches for Applied Sciences”
7/28/2021 Science on Tap, Emmanuel Frimpong and Hiromi Okumura: The Art and Science of Stream Biodiversity
6/24/2021 Science on Tap, Abby Lewis: Oxygen: Stories of Fire, Beer, and the Guillotine
5/17/2021 SciArts Collaboration Incubator
5/14/2021 Institute of Food Technologists (Effective Strategies to Communicate Science, an Interactive Workshop)
5/4/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable's Hands-on PowerPoint: Learn How to Turn Theory into Practice)
4/29/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable’s Decoding Slide Design: Using Science and Art to Make Powerful Visuals)
4/27/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable’s Rethinking Presentations: Memorable and Influential Presentations)
4/22/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Sweta Baniya, Minh Duong, Sara Richards, Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Khanh To, Na Xie: Asian & Pacific Islander in Academia: Research Stories and Successes)
4/22/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider's Crafting a Story of Your Research, Part 2)
4/20/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider's Crafting a Story of Your Research, Part 1)
4/15/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Crafting Your Personal Science Story, Part 2)
4/13/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Crafting Your Personal Science Story, Part 1)
4/1/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Introduction to Storytelling for Scientists)
3/31/2021 Orion Living-Learning Program First-Year Students (Communicating Science workshop)
3/30/2021 Orion Living-Learning Program First-Year Students (Communicating Science workshop)
3/30/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (The Story Collider’s Introduction to Storytelling for Scientists)
3/25/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Bruce Hull: Leading From Where You Are: Sustaining Hope for a Sustainable Future)
3/25/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Open Sessions for Practice Communicating)
3/23/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Open Sessions for Practice Communicating)
3/18/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Making Your Research Understandable: Bridging the Gap)
3/16/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Effective Presentations: Building Confidence and Personal Presence)
3/11/2021 Virginia Tech Roanoke Center (Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Effective Communication in Person and Online)
3/4/2021 Virginia Tech Roanoke Center (Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Effective Communication in Person and Online)
3/4/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Learning to Listen: Connecting with Audiences and Collaborators)
3/2/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Make It Memorable’s Presenting Better Virtually: Engage Your Audience in a Virtual Setting)
2/25/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Bennett Grooms: A New Age of Conservation: Helping Wildlife by Understanding People)
2/25/2021 Virginia Tech Roanoke Center (Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Effective Communication in Person and Online)
2/18/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Distilling Your Message: Succinct and Compelling Interactions)
2/16/2021 Pinch-of-Practice Workshop (Distilling Your Message: Succinct and Compelling Interactions)
1/28/2021 Science on Tap, New River Valley (Daniel Bird Tobin: Embodying Emotional Connections to Science Through Theatre)
1/27/2021 Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences Graduate Student Association (Communicating Your Research Online. . .Is Like Making Your Own Hollywood Blockbuster!)
1/14/2021 Women and Gender in Development Conference (Preparatory workshop: Communicating Your Research)
Center for Communicating Science
230 Grove Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(Campus mail code: 0555)
Director Patty Raun
Associate Director Carrie Kroehler