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Monday, September 22, 2014
Cornell Brings its BEST to Science Communications Panel

by Tyran Grillo Read the full article

credit: Michael P. Carroll

Impressions of attendees:

     "1. Importantly, the panel gave hope to the grad students who weren't quite sure they wanted [to] have careers in academics.  2. The speakers made it clear how important our roles are as science communicators. 3. Many of the insights given to the audience by the speakers gave subtle steps necessary to progress into careers in science communication."--Wisler Charles, Ph.D. candidate, Biomedical and Biological Sciences

     "The BEST program has a very important role in higher education: bridging education with a career. The traditional PhD or post-doc training is far removed from the world beyond academia, yet most of us will end up being thrown into that world. Even if that is our goal, there are few formal avenues for us to properly prepare ourselves. 
     [This] was a great introduction to how the BEST program is trying to fill that void and give graduate students and post-docs opportunities to learn skills that will carry them beyond academia. Monday's panel showed how a scientific background can be used in a communications-based career like public relations. More broadly, though, the panelists emphasized the importance of honing communication skills for... any situation where you must communicate technical ideas to a lay audience. 
     In addition to continuing similar panels for other career paths, the BEST program is developing workshops and coursework to teach academics important career skills. Moreover, the BEST program is becoming the central organization on campus to collect and distribute all these and other campus resources that can help grad students and post-docs find and prepare for their future career."--Lena Bartell, Ph.D. candidate,  Applied Engineering and Physics

Important take-aways from the September 15 Science Communication Careers panel discussion:

  • those in the sciences must have their thoughts organized and their language carefully chosen in preparation for any sort of media presentation
  • scientists must be discerning about which truths they openly share
  • science communication is something you do by learning
  • understand your audience, and be able to speak about your work cogently and succinctly
  • never turn down an opportunity to speak publicly about your work
  • Ask: does your work, and your presentation of it, pass the 'who cares' test?
See /docs/SciComm(ONLINE)Sept2015.pdf for more information.