Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, delivered the commencement address for the graduate school at Virginia Tech May 11.
Perhaps more importantly for us, we were able to spend much of the day before commencement with Laura, showing her around campus, hearing her stories of the founding and growth of the Alda Center, and getting to know one another. Several graduate students and faculty members gathered at the ISCE house on Grove Lane May 10 to talk about science communication, collaboration, and public policy.
Lindenfeld, who has served as director of the Alda Center since March 2016, moved to New York from the University of Maine, where she directed the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, a nonpartisan, independent research center. Her work has focused on environmental communication, public policy, societal decision-making, and sustainability.
The Alda Center, which began as part of Stony Brook’s journalism school in 2009, has moved to become a university-level center, Laura told us. Earlier in the Alda Center’s development, other institutions were offered the opportunity to officially affiliate with the center. Now, Laura says, the affiliation process is being reconsidered, and the work of the Stony Brook center is being restructured in other ways as well.
Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw was quoted about Laura’s visit in a VT News story: “We are delighted to have Dr. Lindenfeld as the Graduate School commencement speaker. The Alda Center’s commitment to fostering effective, engaging communications is inspiring. Now more than ever, our graduates must be able to communicate their work with a wide range of audiences, whether they work in academe or in other professional fields.”