Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Science Outreach & Communication Initiative

The Graduate Student Association believes it can provide a great service to the JCLS community by establishing programming devoted to developing science communication skills and motivating a passion for science outreach. The research conducted by JCLS students is both important and exciting. Our work may profoundly influence the lives of our 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 our peers, we can often become caught up in jargon, subsequently losing the capacity to share our exciting research with the general public and even those outside of our chosen fields. As scientists, we have a responsibility to communicate our work in a way that ensures our audience can understand the research we do, elaborates its benefits and important contributions to the growing body of scientific knowledge, and ultimately advocates for its support. The ability to elaborate new and complex developments – whether person to person or through platforms across the new media landscape (social, podcasts, etc.) – is a skill that must be actively cultivated and refined.

Thus, in order to facilitate and foster the development of science communication and outreach skills, GSA will be running a science communication series for the 2018-2019 academic year. This series will include the following programs:

Science Communication: Maiken’s Scott the Answers

Maiken Scott

Date: October 18, 2018
Location: Hamilton 505
Time: 5:30-7:30 PM

Maiken Scott, radio host of WHYY’s The Pulse will kickstart our Science Communication initiative with a seminar-style event. She will share her experience as a radio host and science communicator and explain ways she thinks about the challenging work of communicating scientific research to the public.

“Hosting a health and science show allows me to talk about everything – from baking a perfect dinner roll to freezing kidneys, or finding a giant dinosaur. What else could a woman ask for?” – Maiken Scott

Scientific Storytelling Workshop

Students will learn the critical elements of telling a story and will apply these elements to their own research topic. By the end of the workshop students will be able to break down their research project and reframe it into a 2 minute jargon-free story that is useful for any elevator pitch, thanksgiving dinner, or public outreach opportunity. The deliverable from this workshop will be directly transferable to the script required for the Science Sketches Workshop.

Science Sketches Workshop

Part of understanding a topic is being able to create it. This has been the philosophy behind many platforms: YouTube channel tutorials, Khan Academy, Draw It Know It etc. In addition, visual methods for teaching scientific concepts are critical aids for understanding.  Science Sketches are 2-minute videos that showcase and explain a scientific concept for a lay audience. By the end of the workshop, students will have outlined, recorded, and edited their 2-minute Science Sketches. In order to ensure the outcome of this workshop, attendees are required to come prepared with their script and drawing outline. In addition to the traditional paper-hand-drawn format of Science Sketches, students will also have access to the OneButton Lab located in the Jefferson Library to record their Science Sketches.

3-Minute Thesis Competition

PhD and Masters students around the world work for years on their thesis project which they defend to their thesis committee before they can earn their degree. However, this thesis is by design only understandable to people in a student’s direct field. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an international competition that aims to challenge students to present their research thesis in three minutes to a non-specialized audience. The GSA 3MT Competition will consist a PhD and Masters division. There will be 5  be non-specialized judges and cash prizes for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd prize winners for each division. By participating in the 3MT, students will cultivate desirable communication skills critical for scientific presentations, writing papers/grants/articles, and future job opportunities. There will also be time set aside for students to rehearse in front of peers (GSA sponsored PCRs).

Science Communication & Outreach Opportunities

  1. Start Talking Science - Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018
  2. Story District
  3. Jefferson Pipeline Programs
  4. ASBMB: The Art of Science Communication – Fall Session Sign-up September 3rd
  5. Science Sketches
  6. Write a blog article for the JCLS Admissions website – email: marc.stearns@jefferson.edu

Let us know if you do any science communication and outreach! We love hearing what JCLS students are up to!!!
email: gsa@jefferson.edu