Thursday, March 7, 2019

Graduate Life Center Multipurpose Room

Doors 6:30 PM, Program 7:00 - 9:00 PM, ComSciCon welcome, keynote, and workshop: "The Art of Connecting across Difference"

Join Virginia Tech's Center for Communicating Science director Patty Raun and associate director Carrie Kroehler for the launch of the first-ever ComSciCon-Virginia Tech! Thursday evening's event is an opportunity for graduate students from disciplines all across campus to begin connecting, communicating, and collaborating before they dive into the great workshops and panels on offer all day Friday.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Graduate Life Center Multipurpose Room, Conference Rooms C and F

8:30 - 9:30 AM, Breakfast & Opening Remarks

GLC Multipurpose Room

9:45 - 11:45 AM, Morning Concurrent Sessions

Finding the Kernel of Your Research (Pop Talk)

Join three previous winners of the Nutshell Games, an annual competition held by the Center for Communicating Science, and challenge yourself to distill your research into a 90-second Pop Talk. Participants in this interactive workshop will practice techniques to help get to the kernel of their research, prepare and practice their very own 90-second Pop Talk. Later, in the afternoon wrap-up session, participants can perform their Pop Talk on the Lyric stage in Blacksburg!

Communicating Data Visually with Tableau and Excel

Have thesis or dissertation data that you want to present visually? Want to learn how to create impactful and appealing visualizations for a variety of audiences? Join Professor Jane Robertson Evia for a hands-on workshop that will guide you to create various types of graphs, tables, and other data visualizations using both Tableau and Microsoft Excel.

Finding the Story in Your Science

Ever wonder how scientists craft the stories that appear in publications like American Scientist and Discover magazine? First, they have to find the “story” of their research, a method that enables non-experts to more easily understand the scientific method and process. Katie Burke, Digital Features Editor of American Scientist, will guide you in storyboarding your own research to create a narrative you can develop into a science story.


12:00 - 1:00 PM, Lunch & Plenary Talk from David Perry, columnist for Pacific Standard Magazine, "The Public Scholar in the Age of Twitter”

GLC Multipurpose Room

1:15 - 3:30 PM, Afternoon Sessions



Panel/Workshop Title



Track 1: Panels

(Participants attend both panels)

1:15 - 2:15 PM

GLC Room C

Tweeting Science

Nick Caruso, author of Does it Fart?, & Derek Hennen, PhD Student in Entomology

2:30 - 3:30 PM

GLC Room C

“I didn't say that!”: Ensuring Accuracy with the Media

Cassandra Hockman, Former Fralin Institute Writer & Jordan Metzgar, Curator of the Massey Herbarium

Track 2: Library Studios

1:15 - 3:30 PM


Designing Science Communication with the Library Studios

Jonathan Bradley, Jonathan Briganti, Kayla McNabb, & Sara Sweeney

Track 3: Workshop

1:15 - 3:30 PM (with a break)

GLC Room F

Write-a-Thon: Blogging & NPR Story Writing

Dana Hawley, Katie Garahan, Skylar Hopkins, Allison Hutchison, Ruoding Shi, Hayley Oliver, & Amy Foltz

Tweeting Science

Do you follow any science communicators on Twitter? Want to share your research and fieldwork on social media? Attend this panel hosted by two active tweeters to learn how they engage with Twitter followers. Nick Caruso is the co-author of Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence, a book whose concept was born from a tweet! Derek Hennen is a PhD student in entomology who dazzles followers with extreme closeups of his favorite research subject: millipedes!

“I didn't say that!”: Ensuring Accuracy with the Media

What do you do when your discovery of giant hogweed in Virginia goes viral? Find out from Jordan Metzgar, the curator of the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech, and journalists Cassandra Hockman, former communications director of the Fralin Life Science Institute, and Robby Korth, higher education reporter for the Roanoke Times. These panelists combine the perspectives of a scientist and a science writer to give you insights on how to communicate scientific research to journalists and media so the public stays well-informed.

Designing Science Communication with the Library Studios

The University Libraries' studios offer an array of tools and software programs to support science communication, and you’ll get to learn about each in this session. After an introduction to the exciting possibilities in each studio, you will choose one studio in which to attend a workshop. Find out how to make a podcast, design a virtual reality experience to share your work, or decide where, when, and how to use data visualization!

Write-a-Thon: Blogging & NPR Story Writing

Your research is important, and the public needs and wants to know about it! However, public audiences don’t read scientific and academic journals; they read blogs and listen to the news. Bring a short science story draft (500-1,000 words) to this workshop (it can be about your research or someone else’s research that you find fascinating) and get feedback from professors, fellow graduate students, and Science Writing students about your work. Choose a venue for your story such as Joe’s Big Idea and walk away from this workshop with a more polished piece that you can submit!

4:00 - 6:00 PM, Reception & Pop Talks at the Lyric Theatre

To culminate the day’s activities, we will gather at the Lyric Theatre for a reception. Listen to Pop Talks (and even perform your own), which are concise and engaging research talks similar to the Nutshell Games held by the Center for Communicating Science every fall semester. Mingle with fellow conference-goers, learn about their research, and become part of a community of people connecting across difference.


A flyer is available below with the schedule of events for Friday, March 8.

comscicon_1.pdf1.72 MB