This page contains information relevant to the attendees of ComSciCon-Chicago 2018. This page will be continuously updated until the conference.
Travel & Venue
ComSciCon-Chicago 2018 will be held in the British International School of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Campus, 814 W. Eastman St, Chicago, IL 60642.
Events will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on both August 25th and 26th. Please see the event program for complete details.
See our map for important ComSciCon-Chicago locations including the location of the venue (yellow), parking (grey), nearest L station (red), and possible lodging (indigo).
Please feel free to reach out to our organizing team if you have questions regarding housing options, or are a local attendee who might be willing to house out of town attendees.
Validated parking is available at the Black Hawk/Halsted Parking structure at 1467 N. Dayton St. just north of the venue. With validation, the cost for parking will be:
- $3 for up to 3 hours
- $19 for 3 to 4 hours
- $24 for 4 to 12 hours
All attendees must mail a $50 check in order to secure their spot at ComSciCon-Chicago 2018. Upon attending both days of the conference, the checks will either be returned to the attendee or torn up. If the attendee does not show up for both days of the conference, the attendee forfeits the $50 and the check will be deposited.
All checks must be sent in by Jul 17, 2018 for attendees to secure their spot. If not, the spot will go to someone on the waiting list. Please address the check to “The Story Collider” and mail to:
ATTN: Kristen Vogt Veggeberg / ComSciCon-Chicago
Boy Scouts of America
1218 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL, 60607
Attendees will draft an original piece of scientific writing, and will be able to choose 1 of the 3 following options to submit:
1) a scientific article for publication-- blog, newspaper, magazine, etc
2) a pitch to a science editor of a publication
3) a script for podcast or video
The submissions will be divided into small groups based on the options above, each with a shared Google Drive folder. First drafts need to be submitted to the Google Drive folder no later than Wednesday, August 8th 2018. Attendees must also read and give feedback to their peers via comments on Google Docs. Peer-to-peer feedback should be done by Sunday, August 12th 2018. The second draft (which will be read by the guest editors) should be submitted no later than Wednesday, August 15th 2018. Editors will provide their feedback to the small groups of attendees during the Write-a-Thon session from 3-5 PM Sunday, August 26th.
The end goal is to have a piece of scientific writing that can be submitted to an online science blog or popular science publication, a pitch for a story that is ready to be sent off to an editor of a science publication (to become an article), or the perfect script to be turned into a podcast or video.
For each of these options, each attendee must identify a topic that interests them (“What’s something I’ve always wanted to know more and write about?”) and a target audience (“Who will be reading this article? Who reads this publication? Who is this for?”). Attendees are encouraged to push their writing boundaries, write out of their comfort zone, and most of all, have fun!
Option 1: Scientific Article for Publication
For this option, attendees will write a science article that’s 600-800 words that could be seen in a popular science publication or magazine such as Scientific American, The New York Times, Discover, Motherboard, The Atlantic, etc.
Some examples of Write-a-Thon articles written by ComSciCon alumni:
Option 2: Pitch to a Science Editor
Before a popular science article is published, it often is pitched to the editor of the publication. A successful pitch requires an understanding of the types of stories (and their writing style) that often appear in that publication. The pitch sets up the story you want to tell in the article you want to publish-- remember that you’re pitching a story and not a topic. It must catch the editor’s attention and be fresh, unique, and original. You want the editor to be convinced that your story belongs in their publication. Attendees will craft a pitch that’s 400-600 words and could be sent to the editor of their dream publication.
Some helpful resources:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/incubator/upcoming-science-writers-on-how-to-pitch-to-science-nature-and-others/ (Includes link to Google Sheet “Operation Database of the Future” with tips on how to pitch to editors of different publications, payment rates, editor contact details, and actual pitches)
https://www.scidev.net/global/publishing/practical-guide/pitch-science-editor-journalism.html (A great “How-To” of pitching to a science editor, including a “pitch checklist”)
https://www.theopennotebook.com/pitches/ (A database full of pitches from authors to editors of various publications and includes accompanied piece. Can search by publication or topic).
https://www.theopennotebook.com/2012/01/04/how-not-to-pitch/ (Featuring a virtual panel of editors of different publications on common mistakes, some horror stories, and what makes a great pitch)
https://www.theopennotebook.com/2015/11/10/ask-ton-how-much-time-should-i-spend-preparing-a-pitch/ (How much time should be spent on a pitch? Perspectives from freelance writers and an editor)
https://www.newscientist.com/in209-guide-for-freelancers/ (A guide for freelance writers pitching to New Scientist)
Option 3: Podcast or Video Script
Working in multimedia formats allows for diversification in your science communication storytelling. For this option, attendees will write a script that’s 5-10 minutes when spoken aloud, and that could be published on an NPR-style radio broadcast, personal podcast, SciShow-style YouTube channel, or personal channel.
Since this is an audio-only medium, think about how you craft your story so that listeners stay engaged.
Choose wording carefully, as hearing a phrase is different than reading it, and your listeners may or may not choose to rewind in order to re-hear confusing content.
Consider including interviews with experts or laypeople, sound effects, or on-location background sounds. Indicate these in the script with brackets or italics.
Some examples of podcasts/radio pieces created by ComSciCon alumni:
Sea Louse (starts at 45min): http://mynspr.org/post/blue-dot-87-ann-druyan#stream/0
AI: Ant Intelligence: http://www.scienceforthepeople.ca/episodes/ai-ant-intelligence
Since this medium includes audio and visual, think about how you craft your story so that viewers stay engaged. Remember that sometimes less is more.
Will this video be a “talking head” or a voice-over? Is it an explainer or a demonstration? Make careful style choices to best suit your chosen subject.
Consider including interviews with experts or laypeople, sound effects, on-location footage, demonstrations of concepts, or animations. Indicate these and all blocking notes in the script with brackets or italics.
Some examples of videos created by ComSciCon alumni:
Eating Disorders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUIW4Ngod8c
Vortex Rings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0odYvE4k9Eg&t=1s
A simple way to tell insects apart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvLolPN8NvU