I know if you are like me, you probably read that and metaphorically rolled your eyes while saying sarcastically “fun and exciting, yeah right!”
But do not fret my cynical doppelganger, science communication can be fun! I am sure you have probably seen a couple of TED videos in your spare time (If you have no idea what I am talking about, open a new tab and google TED videos). And those videos are entertaining AND informative. And guess what, most of the time the TED speakers are scientists and are communicating science.
It is unfortunate that finding an engaging scientist-speaker is usually the exception than the norm, but times are a changing my friend. Today’s graduate students are expected to be expert communicators in addition to technical experts. Fortunately, there are many opportunities around our campus to learn how to communicate more effectively.
For instance, you probably received emails about the 3-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) last month? In the 3MT competition graduate students have three minutes and one slide to present their research in an engaging, informative, and entertaining format. You do not have the option to rely on PowerPoint slides or images as a crutch to help you communicate – you have only your words! The Master’s student winner was Alexandria Igwe from the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences who presented on how to clean contaminated soil. The winner for the Doctoral students was Brittany Bounds, from the Department of History, who presented on social movements of the 1960’s. Ms. Bounds will be representing Texas A&M at New Orleans for the national 3MT competition. Videos of the presentations should be uploaded soon on the OGAPs website, and the previous year’s competition can be seen from the link at the bottom of this blog.
Other opportunities that allow Texas A&M students to learn about Science Communication include an events hosted by STEM based organizations and the Revolution Café and Bar’s “Science Café” seminar series! The student organization Aggies in Science Technology and Policy (ASTEP) recently hosted an event with Dr. Barbara Gastel about how to use media to communicate your research and how to engage the public, and the PowerPoint slides are available by contacting the group. The Science Café is a great opportunity to hear local scientists talk about their research while enjoying a nice cold one (or any sort of beverage).
Thanks for reading!
Link to 2015 3MT videos:
Adam Orendain | Biomedical Engineering
Adam Orendain is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering.