Nutshell Games Set for October 27; Summer and Fall Workshops Keep Us Hopping

Last year’s Nutshell Games featured speakers from many fields of research.

Where can you learn about 30 exciting research projects in 45 minutes? Mark your calendars!  The third annual Nutshell Games will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, October 27, at the Moss Arts Center.

Hosted by the Center for Communicating Science and held in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Science Festival, the Nutshell Games will take place in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at the Moss Arts Center at the conclusion of the day-long Science Festival.

Thirty graduate students will each have 90 seconds to present their work–research in a nutshell–to the audience at this friendly science communication competition. Three winners, determined by a panel of judges to have been the most engaging and to have communicated their research the most clearly, will each receive a $500 prize.

We’ll announce the opening of applications for the Nutshell Games through our website, the Graduate School’s weekly e-newsletter, and through other avenues. Participants will also be invited to register for a preparatory workshop to be held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 16.

You can also communicate your research by engaging Science Festival participants in hands-on activities. If you’d like to be a Science Festival exhibitor, apply here. The deadline is September 7 but we’ve heard a rumor that the application form sometimes stays open through the weekend, so check on that!

Our summer work provided opportunities for communication skills development for faculty from Ecuador; undergraduate entrepreneurs from around the globe; faculty and post-docs gathered from across the country at a National Science Foundation center at the University of California Berkeley; faculty, practitioners, and students at a national water conference in Pittsburgh; undergraduate Fulbright Fellows from Germany; and undergraduate students in the Global Living Learning Community on campus at Virginia Tech.

Center Faculty Fellow Daniel Bird Tobin and associate director Carrie Kroehler facilitated a workshop August 21 for 36 undergraduate students visiting Virginia Tech from all over the world. On campus for the weeklong Virginia Tech Global Entrepreneur Challenge, the students engaged enthusiastically in a set of exercises to help them improve their listening skills, be aware of body language, think about the importance of eye contact, and learn about other factors key to communication.

Although the student teams were in town to present their business concepts and compete for a monetary prize, for this workshop students collaborated with competitors from other teams. Participants from Germany, Chile, Belgium, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland took part in the challenge and in the Center’s workshop.

A workshop provided by Center Director Patty Raun, for 75 students from all the undergraduate colleges at Virginia Tech, was part of the Mozaiko Global Living Learning Community pre-semester retreat August 16. Mozaiko, or mosaic in Esperanto, is located in Harper Hall and includes Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Russian “language houses” as well as an intercultural house. The living learning community has both international and domestic residents.

Earlier in the summer, center associate director Carrie Kroehler provided one piece of a week-long program for 11 faculty members visiting Virginia Tech from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Her June 25 communicating science workshop was one of many experiences the visiting faculty had while in Blacksburg, where they participated in a variety of workshops based on the Graduate School’s Transformative Graduate Education Initiative.

Fall workshops will engage science festival exhibitors, Nutshell Games contestants, students from landscape architecture and public health, and others.

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