Seminar series kicks off Science Communication Month

September 28, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Solving the world's biggest challenges requires interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as impactful and effective communication with the public. However, providing a clear and consistent message to the public, policymakers and the media challenges many researchers. 

To help Penn State researchers and students hone their communication skills, and to begin a broader dialogue on these topics, the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment is hosting Science Communication (SciComm) Month this October. All events are free and open to Penn State students, faculty and staff. 

SciComm Month officially begins Oct. 1 with a workshop to help scientists improve their slide presentations. The seminar series takes place in 244 Ag Engineering on Thursdays in October. Times vary. Confirmed seminars include:

Rethinking Slide Design in Scientific Presentation: the Assertion-Evidence Approach
1-2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, 244 Ag Engineering
Michael Alley, associate professor, engineering communication

Everyone Needs an Elevator Pitch: Strategies to Engage Non-Technical Audiences on Technical Research Topics
3:30-5 p.m., Thursday Oct. 8, 244 Ag Engineering
Andy Gustafson, Smeal College of Business

Science Communication and the Internet
2-3:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29, 244 Ag Engineering
Brad Woods, research ethics educator, Office for Research Protections

On Oct. 15, Nancy Baron, director of science outreach at COMPASS, will facilitate a plenary discussion, "Pulling Back the Curtain," with journalists from NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, and more. COMPASS will also host a "message box" workshop for young scientists on Oct. 15 (pre-registration for this event is required and seating is limited). 

The 2015 Colloquium on the Environment will take place on Oct. 26 and features Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent. She is the author of several books examining science communication, and most recently she wrote the forward to Pope Francis' Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality

Registration and a complete agenda for these events is available at A complete brochure is available here

If you have questions about these events or would like to be added to a mailing list regarding future science communication initiatives, please contact Amanda Snyder at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 21, 2015