SciComm101 Fall Workshop Series

Space is limited; click here to RSVP!

Grad students at UCLA have joined forces with the SciComm Hub to create an 8-week science communication workshop for graduate students! This workshop will incorporate communication training exercises that have been successful at national workshops such as ComSciCon, the Alan Alda Bootcamp, and the Astronomy Ambassadors Program. You can RSVP for each week of the workshop individually.

Click here to download the workshop program!


Week 1: Storytelling and Communication - Stories are an effective way to communicate the importance and excitement of science. Grads will work in groups to develop their science story. They will then present their stories and provide feedback to each other.

Week 2: Distilling Your Message - Grads will give short (1-2 minute) talks about their research in front of each other while audience members hold up “jargon” cards when the speaker uses too much discipline-specific jargon. This will help the speaker get immediate, real-time feedback as they talk.

Week 3: Metaphors and STEM Outreach: Grads will work in groups of 4-5 for this session. Each person will be assigned a random object along with a random topic in science. They will then be tasked with coming up with a metaphor for their science topic using their object. Groups can work together to help each other come up with appropriate metaphors. We will also hear about the use of metaphors in outreach from several graduate student outreach coordinators at UCLA.

Week 4: Improv and Science - Theater improvisation games increase communication skills, listening skills, and thinking outside of the box. Plus it's tons of fun! The games require that players pay attention to and react spontaneously to each other. Communication requires the same skills. Grad students will play improvisation games to strengthen their connection to their audience.

Week 5: Science Speed Dating - Grads will practice communicating their research briefly in an informal environment. Tables will be set up where presenters will have 3-5 minutes to present their research to another person. People will rotate through the tables as the evening progresses.

Week 6: Mock Interviews - We will hear from a panel of professional journalists about interview tips before breaking into groups of 5-6 to do mock interviews. Each grad will be interviewed about their research for 3 minutes, and the interview will be video-taped. The other grads in the group will give feedback on the interview, and the interviewee will be able to get a digital copy of their interview after the session.

Week 7: Communication via Mass Media - The consensus is in: social media is key for communicating science and reaching out to the general public. Descriptions of how to use several outlets, including Facebook and Twitter, to communicate science will be presented.

Week 8: Controversial Topics in Science and Society - Current “hot topics” in society, including climate change, GMOs, vaccinations, etc. will be discussed, and methods of best communicating the science behind these issues to a stubborn audience will be presented and practiced.