Graduate Student Association

Science Outreach & Communication Initiative

The Jefferson College of Life Sciences (JCLS) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) are dedicated to providing well-rounded experiences and professional development opportunities to the JCLS community, as well as the extended Jefferson community. The research conducted by JCLS students is both important and inspiring. These research studies may profoundly influence the lives of friends and families, as well as policy-makers, school-age youth, taxpayers, future employers, and other constituencies. However, in an effort to become disciplined in communicating with peers, scientists can be caught up in jargon — subsequently losing the capacity to share compelling research with scientists outside of their discipline, as well as with the general public.

To help in these efforts to improve the communication of scientific research by JCLS students to a general audience, the GSA coordinated the first Jefferson 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for JCLS PhD students in the spring of 2019. Later that year, in partnership with JCLS and members of the Department of Marketing and Communications, and the Office of Professional Writing, Publishing, and Communication, they established a year-long programming devoted to developing science communication skills and motivating a passion for science outreach. Through these monthly workshops, the invited speakers present varied information and professional guidance to the entire Jefferson community, including students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff. Each workshop has a point value: attendance earns 1 point and completing deliverables earns more. Participants who obtain enough points receive digital badges through Credly. The digital badge contains metadata specific to each participant and links to deliverables. The badge can be listed on resumes and online profiles to showcase the attainment of science communication skills.

All scientists have a responsibility to communicate their work in a way that ensures the audience understands their research, elaborate its benefits, contributes to the growing body of scientific knowledge, and advocates for advancement support. The ability to convey new and complex research developments — whether person-to-person or through multi-channel social media platforms — is a skill that must be actively cultivated and refined by all.

More information is available by emailing

Full Series Workshop Schedule

BioRender 101 (12/7/22)

JCLS Science Slam Introduction & Training (1/19/23)

There are no supplemental materials for this session.

Research as Art Reception (1/26/23)

Discussion & Keynote with Dr. Britt Wray (1/31/23)

BioRender 201 (2/15/23)

BioRender 301 (3/15/23)

Science Editing and Reviewing Basics (3/16/23)

JCLS Science Slam at Venture Cafe (3/23/23)

BizBio Sci Comm Career Panel (5/22/23)

Full Series Workshop Schedule

Writing for the General Public (11/30/21)

There are no supplemental materials for this presentation.

How to Make a Better Poster (1/26/22)

Science Communication Career Panel (2/14/22)

Science on Social Media (3/25/22)

Arts-Informed Research (4/13/22)

Science Advocacy (5/5/22)

Presentation Skills (5/9/22)

3-Minute Thesis Competition (TBD)

Full Series Workshop Schedule

Kick-off Presentation (10/1/20)

Science Communication Career Panel (10/27/20)

How to Write Better Abstracts (11/12/20)

How to Design a Graphical Abstract (12/08/20)

How to Write About Research for a General Audience (01/12/21)

How to Design a "Better Poster" (02/18/21)

Social Media for Researchers (03/11/21)

Animate Your Science (04/08/21)

Full Series Workshop Schedule

Science Communication Series Kick-off Presentation (9/25/19)

Career Panel Discusion (10/10/19)

Animate Your Science (11/6/19)

Why Twitter is Good for Your Career (12/3/19)

Science Writing 101 (1/16/20)

Podcasting Workshop (2/11/20)

3-Minute Thesis Training (3/13/20)

Pitching a Science Article (4/30/20)

3-Minute Thesis (5/8/20)

Science Advocacy (5/21/20)

Three Minute Thesis Competition

PhD students around the world dedicate years of effort to their thesis project which they defend to their thesis committee before earning their degree. However, this thesis is - by-design - only digestible to people in the student's direct field of study.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an international competition challenging students to present their thesis in three minutes with one PowerPoint slide and no animation to a general audience. The GSA coordinates a 3MT Competition for our PhD students. There are preliminary heats and then a final competition with non-specialized judges and cash prizes for the first, second, and third prize winners. By participating in the 3MT, students cultivate communication skills critical for scientific presentations, and writing papers, grants, and articles, as well as future job opportunities.

Science Communication: Maiken’s "Scott" the Answers

Science Communication & Outreach Opportunities

Let us know if you do any science communication and outreach.

We love hearing what JCLS students are up to -