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#ASCB15 Recap: Effective Science Communication and Social Media for Scientists

Imagen de Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer

Recently I led two science communication workshops at the 2015 American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. The first titled “Delivering Science: Effective Communication Skills to Become a Successful Scientist” aimed to provide 1) an introduction to effective communication principles and strategies; 2) tangible examples of how effective communication skills can support their professional advancement; and 3) resources that will help them strengthen their communication skills. The first half of the workshop included a panel featuring:

  • Dr. Sarah Goodwin, Director, iBiology
  • Dr. Verónica Segarra, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, High Point University
  • Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Dr. Ron Vale, Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California San Francisco, HHMI investigator and Founder, iBiology  

Panelists talked about the importance of knowing your audience and your goal when communicating science. Each of them offered examples from their own experiences in teaching, communicating with lay audiences, scientists outside their fields, peers, and policy makers, among others. Panelists emphasized the importance of knowing the ‘so what’ of your message, preparing and practicing what you want to say ahead of time (as well as knowing your talking points and take home message).    

Science Communication Resources 

The second half of the workshop featured a hands-on activity using COMPASS’ (not ASCB’s COMPASS, but a non-profit of the same name) Message Box. This tool allowed participants to think about an issue they wanted to communicate, identify key components of their message and put into practice the principles and advice they heard during the first half. 

The second workshop was “Social Media for Scientists” and it offered an introduction to social media, particularly Twitter, and discussed why these platforms can be an invaluable tool to scientists. The workshop focused on how social media offers scientists new ways to expand their professional network; connect with policymakers and the public; to communicate scientific research; and to advance their professional career. Below is the workshop slide deck as well as some useful links and resources.

Twitter Basics

 Twitter and Social Media for Scientists