Are you looking for ways to communicate the impact of your research? The Graduate School has compiled a list of internal and external resources for students looking to improve their science communication. This list includes resources for communicating with colleagues, students, journalists, and the public.

Courses Open Broadly to Graduate School Students

BIOETHICS 605: Contemporary Issues in Bioethics and Science Policy:

The course will focus on 'Professional and Scholarly Writing' (Fall) and 'Communicating Science and Bioethics' (Spring). In the fall, we delve into how and where we express ideas about bioethics and science policy in writing. We begin from first principles: Why do we write? What can good writing do for us? How do we know when we're done? During the semester we will write clear, thoughtful, analytic and creative pieces in bioethics and science policy. The spring course provides students with practical training in the communication of scientific research and bioethical issues to the media, policy makers, and the general public. Recent instructors: Michael Waitzkin, Misha Angrist, Brian Southwell

BIOETHICS 591: Topics in Science Policy

During this independent research study, students will analyze science policy developments across government, including executive and agency actions, as well as proposed legislation and judicial decisions. Students will regularly produce policy brief summaries that overview the policy, explain the science at issue, present relevant background information, provide context concerning endorsements and opposition, and expound upon related legislation and governmental actions. Instructor consent required. Recent instructors: Nita Farahany, Gopal Sreenivasan, Jory Weintraub, William Krenzer, Thomas Williams, Sharron Docherty, Kearsley Stewart, Michael Waitzkin, Michael Clamann, Aubrey Incorvaia

PUBPOL 510S: Science and the Media: Narrative writing about Science, Health, and Policy

Those who write about science, health and related policy must make complex, nuanced ideas understandable to the nonscientist in ways that are engaging and entertaining, even if the topic is far outside the reader's frame of reference. Course examines different modes of science writing, the demands of each and considers different outlets for publication and their editorial parameters. Students interview practitioners of the craft. Written assignments include annotations of readings and original narratives about science and scientists. Course considers ways in which narrative writing can inform and affect policy. Prerequisites: a 200-level science course and/or permission of the instructor. Instructor: Angrist

Courses Open to Students in Specific Departments OR PROGRAMS

Pratt School of Engineering

EGR 790: Science Communication for Engineers

Special topics course. General engineering topics intended for graduate students only. Pratt graduate students only. Instructors: Marcie Pachino, Angus Bowers

Pratt also offers the following courses that may help engineering students build communication skills more broadly.

University Program in Genetics and Genomics

UPGEN 700: Critical Skills in Scientific Presentations

This is a required course for first year UPGEN program. In this course, students will focus on communicating science effectively to their peers. This course has a large peer to peer interaction component. Grading is based on class participation and a final "exam" which consists of an oral presentation. This course also has a career development component, consisting of a panel discussion with senior students in the UPGEN program on choosing a thesis lab, an overview of the preliminary exam process, and a panel discussion with UPGEN program alumni who have chosen diverse career paths. UPGEN students only.

Courses for International Graduate Students

The GS courses below are open to all graduate students who may be new to writing in academic English. Engineering students should take advantage of courses through Pratt's Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs (GCIP).

Duke Center for Data and Visualization Sciences offers workshops and data-related resources as well as online learning opportunities, where you can click on a topic area and then on a title to get links to videos and other resources.

Duke Graduate Academy virtual mini-courses: Duke Graduate Academy virtual courses, which are open to graduate and professional students and postdocs, often focus on Science Communication and related topics, such as “Science and Research Communication” and “Public Speaking for Everyone.”

Duke Program on Medical Misinformation: Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute hosts a workshops series for clinical practitioners discussing how to engage in empathetic and meaningful conversations with patients about medical misinformation. These workshops are for anyone who has a professional role that includes caring for, guiding, or consulting with patients.

English for International Students 1-on-1 Consultations: Assistant Dean and Director of EIS Brad Teague offers individual appointments focusing on course presentations, conference talks, oral exams, and interviews. Students should come to each session with a specific speaking task as well as a list of aspects of language they wish to work on. Students may receive feedback on pronunciation, word choice, grammar, and presentation skills.

Duke Science & Society has produced a five-part series introducing the fundamentals of science communication.

  1. Why Communicate about Science?
  2. Who Is Your Audience?
  3. What Should We Say about Science?
  4. How Can We Reach Audiences?
  5. When Should We Communicate about Science?

Duke Science & Society students and faculty have also put together a series of blog posts about SciComm as well as a video archive of workshops on topics such as “It’s Not What You Say, it’s How You Say It: Communicating Health Information to Teens,” and “Science Sonnets: The Poetry of Good SciComm.”

Duke Presenting Clinical and Translational Science (PCATS): Principles and Techniques for Developing and Delivering Effective Scientific Presentations in video modules.

Effective Academic Posters: A poster is a great way to share a short, coherent research story which viewers can take in within a few minutes. Poster sessions are the key way that new ideas are shared in many disciplines and are often great ways to get feedback on your work. From Trinity College’s Undergraduate Research Support

Pratt Graduate Communications and Intercultural Programs: Any Duke graduate student can take advantage of the video library of past events on communication and intercultural strategies.

The Duke Research Blog welcomes contributions from graduate student bloggers interested in building their science communication skills. You'll gain feedback and coaching from expert science writers and a published clip to show for your effort. Contact Robin A. Smith or Karl Bates to learn more and get involved.

Write for The Graduate School's professional development blog: Would you like to share your terrific science communication experiences with your fellow graduate students? Read past posts by student contributors Jameson Blount, Hannah Kania, and Jacqueline Nikpour. New contributors welcome!

Duke GRADx Talks: All Graduate School students are invited to present in the annual GRADx Talks, held during Duke's Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week. Students in the sciences as well as engineering, humanities, arts, and social sciences are invited to share a question that drives their research in a presentation accessible to a broad audience. Read about the value of participating in a blog post from Chris Bassil.

Duke UCEM Research Summit: Sloan Scholars and Affiliates in their second year are invited to share a research question that drives them in a presentation accessible to a STEM audience. The University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) serves students in the physical sciences and engineering.

Workshops, Conferences, and Professional Associations

American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellowships: This highly competitive program strengthens the connections between scientists and journalists by placing advanced undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level scientists, engineers and mathematicians at media organizations nationwide.

ComSciCon-Triangle: The annual local ComSciCon meeting. Read about ComSciCon-Triangle on The Graduate School’s Professional Development Blog.

ComSciCon: ComSciCon is a series of workshops focused on the communication of complex and technical concepts organized by graduate students, for graduate students. ComSciCon attendees meet and interact with professional communicators, build lasting networks with graduate students in all fields of science and engineering from across the US and Canada, and write and publish original works.

SciPep Conferences: SciPEP (Science Public Engagement Partnership) seeks to ensure scientists are supported to be effective communicators and, if appropriate, active in engaging the public.

Science Communicators of North Carolina: SCoNC is dedicated to connecting science communicators and cultivating a love of science across North Carolina.

National Association of Science Writers: The National Association of Science Writers is a community of journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology.

Online Training Modules and Resources

The Open Notebook: features science writing master classes, online workshops, blog posts about the craft of science writing, and resources to connect scientists and journalists.

Science Communications Lab: The Science Communication Lab is an innovative non-profit that uses film and multimedia storytelling to capture the wonder, nuance, complexity, and processes of science.

SciLine: SciLine aims to link local reporters with scientists.

Science Rising Resources for Training: Science Rising is a nonpartisan movement fighting for science, justice, and equity in our democracy. SR offers training resources for Science Communication.

Engagement and Storytelling: A digital guide to telling an engaging story about your project from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.

NC State Science Communication Resources and Self-Education Workshops: North Carolina State University's Leadership in Public Science program has compiled a list of readings and online training workshops for science communication.

Storytelling in Science Writing: University of Guelph’s online module on narrative art in science writing.

Three Minute Thesis: University of Queensland, Australia offers a video series on scholars presenting their complex research in simple, 3-minute videos.

Triangle Area Science Communication and Outreach Resources: A spreadsheet of local Triangle-area Science Communication resources collated by a UNC graduate student.

Are we missing anything?

Know of any more science communication resources relevant to Duke graduate students? Drop us an email to suggest a new resource. 

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