Our Training Approach

Science Communication I

In this course, we bring undergraduate journalism students together with graduate science students to improve everyone’s communication skills, primarily by having students interview each other. Interviews are videotaped and then critiqued by other students and faculty. Journalism students write brief news stories based on the interviews, and these are evaluated for accuracy, completeness and balance. Students also learn about the different cultures of science and journalism so each group can better appreciate the challenges faced by the other. The interviews are short — 10 to 20 minutes — which allows us to repeat the exercise several times for each student.  Journalism students learn through the process that they have to keep asking questions until they understand the details and importance of the scientists’ research, and the scientists learn that they have to be explain their work in ways that are clear to non-technical audiences.


Science Communication II

The goal of this course is to help STEM graduate students improve their writing and their use of digital media in communicating about science with non-technical audiences. Students produce several kinds of written communication, including news stories, Op-Eds, essays and blog posts. The written work is  critiqued by students and faculty as it proceeds through several rounds of revisions. In addition, the graduate students work with faculty and undergraduate students in the Department of Digital Media and Design to produce animations that illustrate the scientific research in which they are involved.