6 January 2016

Sharing Science at Fall Meeting 2015- A Review

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Shane M. Hanlon

The Sharing Science Program at AGU encompasses all of the resources and opportunities needed to help scientists effectively communicate with broader audiences—including journalists, educators and students, policy makers, and the public—about Earth and space science and its importance. Our greatest efforts are concentrated on our annual meeting where we hold and facilitate a number of events. This year was our most successful year to date in both number of events held and interest in our program. In light of our success at Fall Meeting, we decided to provide a two-part ICYMI wrap-up.


Part 1 – Learning from the Experts

How to Become a Congressional Science or Mass Media Fellow Panel
AGU offers a number of great internship and fellow opportunities, two of which involve science communication and policy and are administered through AAAS. The Mass Media Fellowship is an opportunity for graduate students interested in science communication to spend a summer at a media outlet for print, radio, television, etc., working in their science office. The Congressional Science Fellowship offers participants the opportunity to work in a congressional office for a year to gain hands-on experience into the process(es) whereby science is translated into meaningful policy and legislation. This year, we held a panel where our current fellows, Maya Wei-Haas (Mass Media), Timia Crisp-McClain (Congressional), and Michael Glotter (Congressional), spoke about their experiences and answered questions to a packed audience.

 Sharing Science in Plain English Panel
One of our most well-attended events, we hosted a panel that brought together scientists and science communication professionals to share their experiences communicating science to broader audiences. Professor John Calderazzo, plain-language trainer Jana Goldman, and climate scientist and artist Ilissa Ocko, talked about how to share science and tell a story through verbal, written, and drawn communication.

 Blogging and Social Media Forums
Blogging and social media are increasingly used by scientists as rapid and personal means of communicating science to both scientists and non-scientists. As many of these outlets are public, users must be conscious of the content that they put out on the web. This forum gathered scientists and science communicators to talk about their experiences, from how they began and chose their outlets, to challenges that they faced, to their goals for using these types of outlets. The forum from a previous Fall Meeting can be viewed here and we hope to have this year’s forum available online.

 Many Sides of Sharing Science Sessions
Our goal is to provide scientists the tools and resources to effectively communicate their science to broader audiences. However, it is oftentimes beneficial to see how scientists are already successfully meeting this goal. So, we put together a poster and oral session where scientists were encouraged to share their science communication success stories. You can find a list of the oral sessions and abstracts here as well as the posters here.

 Ask the Experts Event
Ever wanted to have a one-stop shop for chatting with science communicators from different communication backgrounds? We organized an event where attendees could talk to these professionals in an informal setting. Our participants included those who worked in policy, K-12 education, media, public speaking, social media, and more! This event with very successful and we look forward to providing it as a resource again next year.

– Shane M. Hanlon is an AGU Sharing Science Specialist