Initial Publication Date: December 19, 2012

Pursuing an Academic Career Virtual Event Series

Effectively communicating your research: From elevator talks to job interview presentations: February 21, 2013

~1 hr long

Leaders: Elizabeth Ritchie, University of Arizona, Timothy Bralower, Pennsylvania State University, and Heather Macdonald, College of William & Mary

This event has already taken place

This webinar will focus on presenting your research and its importance in the context of the academic job search. You'll talk about your research to many different audiences (e.g., students, faculty, administrators) in a variety of settings, from informal conversations to the formal job interview talk. We'll present strategies for preparing and presenting your work in effective ways. We hope you will join us!

Jump down to: References, resources, and the presentation from this virtual event

Goals for participants are:

  • Learn more about communicating what you do and why it is important in informal "elevator talks"
  • Consider how your own elevator talk might be modified for different audiences
  • Learn about important aspects of designing and delivering a presentation about your research during an academic interview
  • Leave with some practical strategies of how to prepare and deliver a great job talk

Time - 4 pm Eastern | 3 pm Central | 2 pm Mountain | 1 pm Pacific
Duration - 1 hour
Format - Online web presentation via Adobe Connect web conference software with questions and discussion. Participants will receive an email with instructions detailing how to log into the event approximately one week prior to the event.
Registration and payment - The registration deadline for this webinar has passed. The cost of the webinar is $30 (or $20 for NAGT members; learn more about becoming a member of NAGT).
Preparation - Please consider and prepare a 1-2 minute response to the following: Briefly describe your main research focus and explain why it is important.

Please email Heather Macdonald (rhmacd AT if you have any questions about this event or Molly Kent (mkent AT if you have technical questions.


Elizabeth Ritchie is a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses principally on tropical cyclones, climate change, and water resources. Liz has also been a leader at several On the Cutting Edge Early Career Geoscience Faculty workshops. Learn more about her career path and career description from her career profile.

Timothy Bralower is a Professor of Geosciences at Penn State and served as the Department Head. he has also been a leader at On the Cutting Edge workshops on Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences. A career profile for Dr. Bralower is available from the Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences website.

Heather Macdonald is a Professor of Geology at the College of William & Mary. She has served as department chair, as Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and as co-director of the undergraduate marine science minor. In addition to her undergraduate courses, she also teaches courses for graduate students on college teaching and college science teaching.

References and Resources

Screencast of Effectively communicating your research: From elevator talks to job interview presentations.

Effectively communicating your research: From elevator talks to job interview presentations
Click to view
Slides from Effectively communicating your research: From elevator talks to job interview presentations (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.5MB May17 13).

Recommended on-line resources:

  • Better Conference Talks - this blog post by The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla is full of excellent advice and tips for improving your presentations.
  • Academic Job Interviews - This series of web pages, from the Preparing for an Academic Career module, contains information about the academic job interview and how one can prepare, including how to construct an "elevator talk," a list of commonly-asked interview questions, and a resource list for more information.
  • Preparing for an Academic Career website - this series of pages provides tips and resources for preparing for an academic job, including the job search, preparing to teach, and moving your research forward to a new institution.
    Each summer, we offer a multi-day workshop (the registration deadline for this summer's workshop is March 8, 2013), designed specifically for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are interested in pursuing academic careers. Participants meet informally with other participants and with workshop leaders from a range of educational settings, share ideas and strategies for stress- and time-management, and develop a self-inventory of preferred options for the next career stage and a personal action plan.
    The website hosts materials that stem from this workshop on topics such as: