Attendee Information


This page contains information relevant to the attendees of ComSciCon-Chicago 2019 and will be continuously updated until the conference.

Last Updated: Feb. 24, 2019


Travel & Venue


ComSciCon-Chicago 2019 will be held at Northwesetern University's Evanston Campus, just north of Chicago
Address: Pancoe Life Science Building, 2200 Campus Dr., Evanston, IL 60208

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.

**Please dress comfortably in casual business attire (jeans are acceptable!). Shoes you can walk/stand in for getting around campus and workshops is highly recommended!

See our map for important ComSciCon-Chicago locations including the location of the venue (purple), parking (blue), nearest L/Metra station (red), and possible lodging (orange).



NOTICE: Building doors will be locked!! Please enter Pacoe Life Sciences Building from the east! A CSCC Organizer will be there to let you in!

NU Entrance


Breakfast and lunch will be provided on both Saturday and Sunday, however dinner for both days is up to the attendee

Unfortunately, ComSciCon cannot provide overnight housing to attendees. There are local hotels at which we have University Pricing available. 

Please feel free to reach out to our organizing team if you have questions regarding housing options (i.e. wanting to share a hotel room to split costs). Previous years' out-of-town attendees have stayed at local attendee's apartments, but this is not guaranteed and depends on yearly attendee volunteers.

If you are a local attendee who might be willing to house out of town attendees, please contact us so that we can pair you. 

Getting to Campus:  


All parking on campus is free (after 4 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends) in designated lots. Please be aware of individual spots in each lot that are indicated as off-limits


The CTA Purpe Line: Get off at the Noyes Street Station and walk three blocks east (~5 min )

UP-N Metra Line: Get off at the Davis Street Station and walk (~20 min) or taxi (~5 min) to campus. This line runs from the Ogilvie Center station in downtown Chicago to Kenosha, WI. 

Amtrak: the closest Amtrak station is in Glenview, IL (~25 min drive from Evanston). A transfer from Amtrak (Union Staion) to the Metra (Ogilvie Center) can be made in downtown Chicago


Write-a-Thon Instructions


You will produce an original piece of science wrting during the workshop and receive feedback first from other attendees and then our writing experts. The goal is to leave with a finished product that could be submitted to an online science blog (e.g the Scientific American Guest Blog) or other popular science publication outlet.

Guidelines for writing

The goal of the writing tutorial is to practice and receive guidance on science communication skills you have been exposed to during the workshop. Writing for the tutorial should help you push your own personal boundaires. Get out of your comfort zone! Try a new writing style, write about a topic you are interested in but know little about, talk to other attendees about your work, approach the panelists, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Start by picking a topic that interests you (perhaps something related to your own research or perhaps not), then pick a target audience (i.e. a New York Times reader or PhD students), then pick a frame (e.g. a reason why your writing should interest the reader, or how it could affect their lives). A typical piece should be about 600-800 words (1-2 single-spaced pages).

Instructions for submission

You have been assigned to a peer review group consisting of 4-5 workshop attendees. In the writing tutorial description email, you should have received a link to a Google Drive folder for your group containing Google Docs files. After following this link, click the "Add to Drive" button and then "Open in Drive". 

One of the Docs files should be labelled with your name. Open that file and please type/enter your piece there. Entering your piece in the Google Docs file will allow us and your fellow groupmates to review your work. Please use the default Google Docs formatting options (i.e. 11 pt Arial font, single-spacing, 1" margins). If you have any issues with accessing your Google Drive folder, please contact us at


The writing tutorial is an important aspect of our workshop, and we ask that everyone participate. It is mandatory that you submit a first draft by August 1st. 

You will receive guidelines for giving feedback to others in your assigned peer review group. You will be expected to read and comment via Google Docs on the work of others in your small group by August 17th. Please make any additional revisions to your draft by 6pm on Thursday, August 22nd.

Sample prompts

You are encouraged to select topics of interest to you, which may or may not be related to your own thesis research. Here is a list of sample prompts which your may use directly or for inspriration:

General Science

  • Comparing public perception to reality — how does science work in academia?

  • What is the peer review system, and does it still work?

  • Why is it important for scientists to communicate their work?

  • The science and politics of climate change, and how it has evolved

  • The growing interdisciplinarity in science

Chemical Sciences

  • What are nanoparticles and what can they do?

  • The chemistry of cooking

  • A modern-day tour of the periodic table

  • What is the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act and what updates are now being considered in Congress?

Computer Science

  • Improving technology, miniaturization and Moore’s law: the ultimate limits

  • Google Glass: the social issues of widely used wearable technology

Physics and Space Science

  • What is the feasibility of faster-than-light travel?

  • What ever happened to the ozone hole?

  • What is the South Atlantic Anomaly and why does anyone care?

  • Journey into a black hole

  • What’s the big deal with the Higgs?

Life Sciences

  • What is the Clean Water Act and why is it important?

  • What does it mean to be certified organic?

  • Confronting fad diets with science

  • Bioresearch vs. bioweapon and the H5N1 debate

  • What is so amazing about cuttlefish?

  • How do scientists use nature for inspiration?

  • What are the pros and cons of GMOs?