Science Communication Training as a Vehicle for Building Student Confidence and Community

Thursday 3:00pm TSU - Humphries: 221


Beth Bartel, UNAVCO
Maite Agopian, EarthScope
Wendy Bohon, IRIS Consortium
Communication is a critical part of any scientific or educational endeavor. As we teach our students about science and introduce them to or support them in research, we also have an obligation to train the next workforce in effective communication. Science communication goes beyond oral and poster presentations at meetings (although both are very important). Science communication, and communication training, can include this type of professional communication plus equally important formal and informal communication including networking, collaborating, teaching, outreach (including social media and mass media), managing stakeholder relationships, and acquiring funding. Communications training, when designed intentionally, also builds relationships and confidence.

Over the past four years, UNAVCO, the EarthScope National Office, IRIS, and others have collaborated to offer communication trainings at mid-sized and large meetings as well as individual geoscience schools or departments. The trainings have ranged from short, topic-specific trainings on networking, storytelling, or social media to half-day or full-day short courses laying a foundation of basic communication skills.

In this presentation, we highlight the elements needed to facilitate a communications training to reap the benefits we have observed in terms of building community and confidence among students and early career scientists. We will share the key findings from evaluation data to that led us to recognize the importance of these benefits to training participants.