Our seminars are open and free of charge to all CMU graduate students and postdocs. Knowing how many people to expect really helps us plan, so please register early if you're planning to come!
The Fundamentals of Science Communication
with Sense About Science USA
September 23rd, 2016
University Center, McKenna Room
Presenter: Neda Afsarmanesh, with two panels of experienced communicators
The push and pull between science and society means that scientist need to be good communicators, be they engaging with the media, public, policy makers, or funders. The aim of the Sense About Science USA’s workshop is to discuss the importance of public engagement by scientists, address concerns and questions that arise in this endeavor, review core principles and ethics of science communication, provide a better understanding of journalistic processes, and conclude by putting forth ideas on how scientists can be more actively involved in public outreach.
The workshop will include two panels of Pittsburgh science communication stars:
Panel 1: Scientists & public engagement
The following CMU scientists and students will share their experiences working with the media, policy makers and/or the public:
- Inês Azevedo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Engineering and Public Policy
- Lenore Blum, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science and founding director of Project Olympus
- Shushman Choudhury, M.S. candidate, Robotics Institute
- Deborah D. Stine, Ph.D., Professor of the Practice, Engineering and Public Policy Department, and Associate Director for Policy Outreach, Scott Institute for Energy Innovation
Panel 2: Learning from communicators
In this panel, we'll hear from journalists, science communicators, and outreach specialists on how they approach science stories and public engagement, and how scientists can help.
- Lauren B. Allen, Ph.D., Learning Media Design Center, CMU, and Director of Science and Learning, Center for PostNatural History
- Kathleen Bodenlos, Director of Marketing, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
- Robyn K. Coggins, Associate Editor, Pitt Med magazine
- Mark Roth, freelance science writer, retired senior staff writer at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and science writing instructor at CMU
Why are Facts not Enough?
October 5th, 2016
Presenter: Amy Melnyk
Why do people double-down on their beliefs and opinions in the face of contradictory facts? This workshop explores the theory of Cultural Cognition, which sheds light on people's tendency to hold steady about contentious policy matters such as climate change, gun control, and vaccinations. The same social science framework explains much about audiences' acceptance or rejection of science communication. Using the insights of Cultural Cognition, this session will highlight tools for better framing and communicating scientific information to a wide audience.
Strategies for Engaging Your Audience
October 25th, 2016
Baker Hall 235A
Presenter: Julia Deems
Presenting is critical to getting others interested in your work, yet most researchers receive little practice in how to do it effectively. In this interactive session, you'll learn how to take the content of your presentation and deliver it as an engaging talk. We'll practice strategies for understanding your audience and holding their attention, and demonstrate principles for how to structure your talk to engage. Come with questions! This workshop is geared for students at any stage of work.
Communicating Technical Breakthroughs for Industry
with Real Industry
November 2nd, 2016
Presenter: Jay LeBoeuf
This lecture and workshop is a hands-on crash course in communicating technical skills to a nontechnical industry audience. Students will learn how top technology companies translate research and development into concrete features, benefits, and customers. Students will work on real-world marketing and communication challenges provided by executives and senior managers from companies like Pandora, Sonos, and Sennheiser. Industry mentors will provide feedback as part of the event.
Students will develop the skills to clearly and concisely communicate technical concepts to nontechnical people, which are key differentiator of top talent in a company. People who can communicate their technical ideas effectively win support for those ideas They impress hiring managers. They become leaders in their organizations and secure funding from investors and venture capitalists. In interviews with over 30 top technology companies, Real Industry has discovered that clear communication is key to achieving these goals and becoming invaluable to an executive team, which is why they offer workshops like this one.
Science Communication Across Cultures
November 15th, 2016
Baker Hall 235B
Presenter: Rebecca Oreto
As both societies and scientific enterprises become increasingly globalized, many scientists will be called upon to discuss their work with people from other countries and cultures, whether they are collaborators, stakeholders in areas affected by the research, family members, or media outlets. While some communication techniques will translate well to different cultures, differences in norms regarding structure, audience questions, and other presentation elements require changing one's communication approach to best reach the audience. This workshop will explore these differences and related biases that may impact how a scientist views or is viewed by an audience. Participants will learn to recognize these biases using examples and exercises, and will learn and practice strategies to help ensure that they can communicate about their research effectively whatever the audience's background.
Blog: Science Non Fiction
Every Thursday, 5:30-6:30pm
Wean Hall 5304
Science Non-Fiction is PCR's blog, where Pittsburgh graduate students share a their perspective on science in the news and in our lives. We blog about reusing poop, the most important teapot in the history of computing, the sad science of whiskey stones, and more. Occasionally articles get picked up, but mostly we write for our own practice at writing.
Each week we workshop a piece written by a different member. If you're interested in honing your writing, come join us for one of our weekly meetings! (Don't worry, you don't need to have an article of your own to join.)