How did summer fly by so quickly? It’s a perennial question without an answer. It did, and we packed a lot into it! Here are some of the highlights:
At the end of May, Center for Communicating Science (CCS) director Patty Raun traveled to the University of Notre Dame to present her talk, “Take a Walk with Me,” to the ACC Academic Leadership Network, and in June she facilitated two “Connecting Across Difference” workshops for the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.
CCS associate director Carrie Kroehler facilitated communicating science workshops in June for visiting faculty from Ecuador’s Universidad San Francisco de Quito and for two summer undergraduate researcher groups: the Translational Obesity Undergraduate Research (TOUR) Scholars and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) Program in Interdisciplinary Water Science and Engineering.
Together, and with the help of CCS faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin, Kroehler and Raun developed and taught a series of 10 weekly workshops for 28 summer undergraduate student researchers, which you can read about in more detail elsewhere.
This team also revised and facilitated the academic portion of Virginia Tech’s third year of hosting German Fulbright Fellows on campus. A collaboration with the Cranwell International Center, “Communicating Across Disciplines: New Approaches for Applied Sciences” provided opportunities for the 20 visiting undergraduate students to develop their written and oral communication skills, improve their English, learn about higher education in the United States, and explore the New River Valley and Washington, D.C. A VT News story provides more detail about this program and the students’ 2019 experiences.
Kroehler, Raun, Tobin, and Cassandra Hockman, also a Faculty Fellow with the CCS, traveled to New York City at the end of June to participate in a conference titled CESTEMER: Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research. While at CESTEMER, CCS faculty gave four presentations, which we reported on in the July issue of our newsletter.
In early August, Raun traveled to Orlando to give the keynote address, “Let Your Life Speak: The Art of Connecting across Difference,” for the Voice and Speech Trainers Association annual conference. From there she traveled on to New York, where she attended the Applied Improvisation Network 2019 World Conference in Partnership with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.
Here at home, Science on Tap had great turnouts. In July, Town of Blacksburg Sustainability Manager Carol Davis spoke on “Individual actions or systemic change? Thoughts about creating a more sustainable world,” and Virginia Tech graduate student and Nutshell Games winner Maddy Grupper engaged the audience in conversation about her topic, “Public Trust in Drinking Water” for our August event.
We wrapped up the summer’s activities with two events the week before classes began. Raun provided the keynote presentation, “Connecting Across Difference: Skills for Listening, Learning, and Living,” for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences teaching celebration on August 20. On August 21, Kroehler, Raun, and Tobin facilitated a day-long, university-wide Collaboration Incubator. Funded by Virginia Tech’s Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness office, this workshop gathered 20 faculty members and administrators for a day of “serious play” related to collaboration.