Center Receives Outreach Award—Thanks, Team!

This photo shows the director and associate director of the Center for Communicating Science posing in front of a Hokiestone wall.
Center for Communicating Science director Patty Raun (left) and associate director Carrie Kroehler were honored to accept an outreach award for the center. Photo credit: Olivia Coleman

The Center for Communicating Science has been honored with the Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence. The official words on the plaque are “for Excellence in Team Outreach”—and that team has literally hundreds of members! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re one of them, and we’d like to thank and congratulate you.

The Center’s mission, to create and support opportunities for scientists, scholars, health professionals, and others to develop their abilities to communicate and connect, is at the heart of outreach. The end goal of our workshops, graduate course, and other events and activities is to help participants learn to communicate their research outside of their fields. Through this work we are creating an ever-growing cohort of researchers who are able to connect, engage, and communicate effectively with non-scientists, recognize that such outreach is an important part of their work, and are equipped to do it.

Who’s on the team?

Karen DePauw, dean of the Graduate School, and Karen Roberto, director of the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment, are the center’s earliest and staunchest champions, without whose support we wouldn’t have the center.

Our advisory board (Katie Burke, Jenni Case, Bennett Grooms, Bruce Hull, Shernita Lee, Todd Schenk, Bob Whiton, plus previous members Kiersten Formoso, Sihui Ma, Darren Maczka, and Marie Paretti), steering committee(Rosemary Blieszner, Daniel Breslau, Karen DePauw, Steve Holbrook, Rachel Holloway, Sally Morton, Menah Pratt-Clarke, Karen Roberto, Paul Steger, Lesley Yorke, plus previous members Susanna Rinehart, Peter Haskell, and Tracy Vosburgh), center student interns (Nicole Elbin, Luci Finucan, Kendall Daniels, and Hayley Oliver), and center faculty fellows (Elizabeth Allen, Meaghan Dee, Al Evangelista, Anne Hilborn, Cassandra Hockman, and Daniel Bird Tobin) all advise, support, and extend the work of the center in a multitude of ways.

The more than 300 graduate students who have taken Communicating Science-GRAD 5144 (and hundreds more who have participated in workshops) have shared their research with audiences at the Warm Hearth Retirement Community; kindergarten children and middle school students in Giles County public schools; honors students and Leadership in Science students at Virginia Tech; local residents attending Science on Tap, the Nutshell Games, and Blacksburg Sustainability Week’s Pecha Kucha talks; and through many other projects and programs.

The 100+ collaborators who have invited us to facilitate communicating science workshops or give conference presentations for faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and others here on campus and across the country, and the more than 7,000 people reached in that way, all are valuable members of the “outreach team.”

And many other collaborators, including Cranwell International Center, the Virginia Tech English department, Phyllis Newbill, Todd Nicewonger, Allison Hutchison, Alexis Priestley, Jane Robertson Evia, Carlos Evia, Vanessa Diaz, Catherine Amelink, and the Office of Undergraduate Research, are helping to extend the work of the center. If you have intersected with the Center for Communicating Science in any way, you are almost certainly a member of the team being recognized for outreach excellence.

Many thanks to you all, and congratulations!

Patty Raun, director

Carrie Kroehler, associate director

(This story appeared on the Center for Communicating Science website. )


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