This image shows the ComSciCon Virginia Tech 2023 logo with those words plus "A Science Communication Conference for Grad Students"

ComSciCon-Virginia Tech is back! This year’s communicating science presentations and workshops, organized by graduate students for graduate students, will be offered primarily online. The exception is the Nutshell Games, which will take place at the Moss Arts Center at 5:30 p.m. February 8. All ComSciCon-Virginia Tech events are also open to faculty, undergraduate students, post-doctoral research fellows, and community members.

    With evening offerings during the week of February 6, ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023 has something for everyone: a creative writing workshop, a “pop talks” workshop, a keynote on anti-racist science communication, and 90-second “research in a nutshell” talks by 30 graduate students.

    Virginia Tech’s own Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq will deliver the keynote address online at 5:30 p.m. Monday, February 6, “Recognizing Science: Anti-Racist Science Communication.” A faculty member in the English department, Itchuaqiyaq is an Iñupiaq scholar and tribal member of the Noorvik Native Community in NW Alaska. As an assistant professor of professional & technical writing at Virginia Tech, Itchuaqiyaq’s research combines her academic background in the humanities and environmental sciences to contribute culturally appropriate and capacity-driven science communication that supports environmental justice work in Arctic Inuit communities.

       Tuesday’s workshop, “Once Upon a Time: Turning Science into Stories,” will be presented online at 5:30 p.m. by Deborah Carr. A graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Carr also has a master’s degree in public health and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. She has spent more than 30 years in various federal government agencies, communicating complex infectious disease events so that they’re understandable to senior decision makers. She has also written both fiction and nonfiction, and the torrent of misinformation and disinformation that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired her to find new ways to bridge the growing gap between science and the general public.

    Wednesday’s ComSciCon-Virginia Tech event is the Nutshell Games, a fun and friendly presentation competition. Come cheer for 30 courageous graduate student researchers, each of whom has a mere 90 seconds to explain their research to a public audience and a panel of judges. Talks will cover research topics from all across campus. Where else can you learn about 30 exciting research projects in 45 minutes? Please join us at 5:30 p.m. at the Moss Arts Center!

    On Thursday, you can try your hand at creating a short engaging talk about your own research. The ComSciCon-Virginia Tech pop-talk workshop, online at 5:30 p.m., will feature a panel discussion with the 2022 Nutshell Games winners Viverjita Umashankar, Jatia Mills, and Jennifer Appiah-Kubi. Workshop facilitators will also guide participants through exercises designed to help researchers distill their messages and create stories from their projects.

    ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023 is presented by members of Virginia Tech’s student Communicating Science club. This year’s organizers are biological sciences Ph.D. candidates Sara Teemer Richards, Emma Bueren, and Mychala Snead.

    “As fellow graduate students, we understand that time is valuable and of the essence, and flexibility can be hard to come by,” says Teemer, president of the Communicating Science club. “We hope that the new format this year makes it easier for our peers to put in the time it takes to work on the ever-important skill of science communication. Bring a snack, get comfy, and let’s talk about your science!"

    ComSciCon-Virginia Tech sponsors include the Center for Communicating Science, the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, and the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. ComSciCon began as a partnership between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 and since has allowed franchised chapters across the United States and Canada to host their own events. Virginia Tech became a ComSciCon chapter in 2019.

    All details are available at the ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023 website. Participants can register online. The deadline for registration is February 1. Questions? Contact the organizers at