April 9, 2019

Voices for Science 2019 – the year ahead

Posted by Laura Guertin

This blog is part of my journey as a member of the Voices for Science Class of 2019. You may want to start with my first post, Voices for Science 2019 – the journey begins…

The first full day of the Voices for Science workshop was one that left everyone not just saturated, but overflowing with information and ideas. Both the science policy and science communications/media advocates met at The Optical Society of America headquarters.

The morning started with a clear statement of the goals for the Class of 2019 – community and shared purpose, create change, inspire and support colleagues, reach key new audiences, and showcase the value of our outreach. After hearing about the successes of the Voices for Science 2018 cohort activities (30 individuals had at least 600 actions, directly engaged at least 11,500 people, and engaged via social media/indirectly at least 223,000!), we’re feeling in awe and a little anxious to match (hopefully exceed!) their achievements.

After an overview of effectively communicating science by Olivia Ambrogio and Shane Hanlon (both of AGU Sharing Science), the morning shifted to hearing about AGU’s four major policy priorities for 2019 – supporting legislative action for scientific integrity at all federal agencies, supporting legislation to build a more resilient society, funding, and creating a diverse and inclusive 21st century workforce (see AGU Science Policy site). We heard from two members of the 2018 Voices for Science cohort on their experiences, then shifted into some improv exercises to get our group comfortable working outside of our comfort zone.

Our lunch was a working session, allowing us to speak with fellow advocates and and the AGU staff as we continued to work on our year-long engagement plan, mapping out one engagement activity for each month. Many of us still have so many ideas, from low-hanging fruit to stretch goals, that we welcome the opportunity to have one more evening to round out our goals, target audiences, and activities!

After lunch, we broke into our two tracks, separating into two different rooms for further conversation and activities. I went with Olivia and Shane to hear more about tailoring messages to audiences, storytelling, and social media. The evening ended with a happy hour with science policy and science communicator professionals.

The energy and enthusiasm of this group is incredibly high. So many of us shared that we have been looking for a community that has the same passion for outreach and engagement, in both science communication and science policy. The Voices for Science advocates have clearly made a connection, which is sure to only strengthen tomorrow as the science communications/media track is back at The Optical Society building, and the science policy track is off to Capitol Hill. I unfortunately will not be seeing the science policy group on our next/final full day of this workshop, but I’ll be sharing what we do in the science communications track. Stay tuned!