21 February 2017

Science communication needs you

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Shane M Hanlon

AGU wants to help scientists convey the value of their work to diverse audiences by empowering them to be visible, authoritative, and accessible voices in their community and the world.
-Me, AGU’s Sharing Science is helping scientists talk to the rest of us

At AGU’s 2015 meeting, I was speaking with climate scientists & communicator John Abraham about the Sharing Science program. After a few minutes of chatting, he exclaimed (paraphrasing), “That’s great! Why don’t more people know about this?!”

Some of you are likely familiar with Sharing Science. We’re roughly branded as the scicomm program of AGU (I mean, it is our Twitter handle – @AGU_SciComm). Our goal is to provide fellow scientists with the skills and opportunities to share their science with any audience. We provide workshops and hands-on support to help scientists effectively communicate with broader audiences—including journalists, educators and students, policy makers, and the public. But for everything that we provide, our primary role is not to be direct science communicators. For that, we need you, and that’s where the Sharing Science Network comes in.

The Sharing Science Network is made up of scientists from around the world who are interested in, and passionate about, sharing their science with broad audiences. Some of the actions that members take include answering questions from journalists or policymakers, writing blog posts or op-eds, contacting representatives or senators, or fulfilling requests for speaking gigs, among others. I said it best in that article: “Members range from undergraduates who are looking for advice on how fit science communication into their career path, to researchers who want to express the value of their work to lawmakers and legislators, to tenured professors who never received formal training in science communication but are now realizing the value of translating their work into plain English.”

I keep hearing “now, more than ever” when scientists talk about the necessity for scicomm. We want to help. Join our network and we can help facilitate opportunities for you to share your science. We try to put members in touch with local outreach groups. We can support your goals to write op-eds or letters to editors. We’ll provide a forum for you to chat with others passionate about scicomm. We offer all these services because science literacy matters…

Click to join!

…and we need YOU. We need scientists to meet with legislators. We need scientists to speak at public events. We need scientists to be interviewed by a reporter, write op-eds, and foster media relationships.

If you’re interested in communicating science to your neighbor, to your newspaper, to Washington DC, join our network. Help us to help you.

­-Shane M Hanlon is an AGU Sharing Science Specialist