ComSciCon16 Program & Details

Full Program and Condensed Schedule

The complete digital program is available for download. This includes the full schedule; abstracts and scheduling of poster presentations; schedule of pop talks; biographies of panelists, speakers, and facilitators; and interactive session groups.

Download the Full PDF Program

A condensed version of the schedule is also available online, and physical copies are available at the workshop registration desk.

Download the Condensed PDF Schedule

Importable Google Calendar

The full schedule can be imported as a Google Calendar (click the bottom right of the page to import).

Download the Google Calendar

Program description

The ComSciCon16 workshop for graduate students takes place June 9-11th, 2016 and will feature panel discussions with expert science communicators including leading journalists, fiction and non-fiction authors, public policy advocates, educators, and more discussing the following topics:

  • Keynote Panel: Communication in Action: A Case Study in Flint, Michigan

  • Panel 1: Communicating through Media Outlets

  • Panel 2: Communicating through Policy and Advocacy

  • Panel 3: Communicating through Creative Outlets and Storytelling

  • Panel 4: Communicating through Education and Outreach

  • Panel 5: Communicating with Diverse Audiences

Workshop participants will produce an original piece of science writing and receive feedback from workshop attendees and invited experts.  Time for peer editing, revision, and expert review is built into the schedule of events in preparation for and during the workshop.

Special sessions will be held focusing on organizations and collaborative projects presented by attendees (poster session), career opportunities, storytelling, mock interviews, pitching, conference organizing, and K12 education.

In addition to these sessions, ample time is allotted for interacting with the experts and with graduate student attendees from throughout the country to develop new science outreach collaborations.  

Program and Venue

All events to take place at the Microsoft facility at One Cambridge Center unless otherwise noted.


June 9th

8:30 - 9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 - 9:15 am Welcome
9:20 - 10:50 am

Panel 1: Communicating through Media Outlets

  • Wade Roush, Multimedia journalist and Outreach Officer, MIT Program in Science, Technology, and Society

  • Nidhi Subbaraman, Reporter at Buzzfeed

  • Lisa Grossman, Editor at New Scientist

  • Chris Berdik, Freelance Science Journalist
11:00 - 12:30 pm

Panel 2: Communicating through Policy and Advocacy

  • Bina Venkataraman, Director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute and Carnegie Fellow at New America

  • Lisa Suatoni, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council

  • Suzanne Shaw, Director of Communications, Union of Concerned Scientists

  • Erin Heath, Associate Director of Government Relations, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 - 3:00 pm

Panel 3: Communicating through Creative Outlets and Storytelling

  • Perrin Ireland, Senior Science Communications Specialist, Natural Resources Defense Council

  • Kishore Hari, Director of the Bay Area Science Festival

  • John J. Stein, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience at Brown 
  • Thomas L. Ricci, Audiovisual artist
3:00 - 4:00 pm

Panel 3 Hands-on Session: Storytelling

4:00 - 4:15 pm

Break / Discussion

4:15 - 6:00 pm

Keynote Panel: Communication in Action: A Case Study in Flint, Michigan

  • Ansje Miller, Eastern States Director at the Center for Environmental Healthn
  • Noah Hall, Associate Professor of Law at Wayne State University
  • Siddhartha Roy, Ph.D. student in the lab of Marc Edwards at Virginia Tech
  • Joyce Zhu, Ph.D. student in the lab of Marc Edwards at Virginia Tech
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Careers Mingle and Dinner at the Microsoft NERD Center, 1 Memorial Drive

7:30 - 8:30 pm

Video Screening by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios at the Microsoft NERD Center, One Memorial Drive


June 10th

8:30 - 9:00 am


9:00 - 10:30 am

Panel 4:  Communicating through Education and Outreach

  • Elizabeth Choe, Program Coordinator and Executive Producer, MIT+K12 Videos Program
  • David Malan, Professor, Harvard and EdX
  • Ralph Bouquet, Outreach Coordinator, PBS NOVA
  • Morgan Rehnberg, Graduate Student, University of Colorado at Boulder
10:45 - 12:15 pm

Panel 5: Communicating with Diverse Audiences

  • Danielle Lee, postdoctoral researcher, Cornell, author of blog "The Urban Scientist"

  • Lonsdale Koester, Executive Director of Science Club for Girls

  • Kristin Finch, Program Manager for the Center for STEM Diversity, Tufts University

  • Vivian Underhill, Ph.D. Student, UC Santa Cruz
12:15 - 1:15 pm


1:15 - 3:15 pm

Concurrent interactive sessions:

  • Mock Interviews
  • Pitch Slam
3:30 - 5:30 pm

Expert Review Session

5:30 - 5:40 pm

Attendee group photo

6:30 pm - Conference Dinner (Elephant Walk restaurant)


June 11th

8:30 - 9:00 am


9:00 - 10:30 am How to Run a ComSciCon-local Event (with discussion/breakout time)
10:30 - 12:30 pm Poster Session
12:30 - 1:00 pm


1:00 - 2:00 pm Keynote Address by Bassam Shakhashiri
2:00 - 2:15 pm Intro to Writing for a K-12 +Audience and Creating a STEM Lesson Plan
2:15 - 3:00 pm Teacher Review & Lesson Plan Creation
3:00 - 3:15 pm Break
3:15 - 4:40pm Lesson Plan Creation
4:40 - 5:00 pm Group Discussion: How was the standard tied to the science?
5:00 pm Closing remarks