I work with all different types of speakers. If you would like to know more about my coaching services and workshops, please contact me.
Classes I Teach
Department of Chemistry, the George Washington University
Fall 2019 Science Communications in Practice (graduate level CHEM 6390)
Speakers I’ve Coached
In April 2020, I coached students preparing “lightning talks” for the Earth Optimism Summit, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Their presentations were intercut with vignettes that I prepared on science storytelling techniques. For example, start with the story of your data.
National Academy of Sciences
Since September 2015, I have had the distinct pleasure to work with the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) in Washington, DC. I help panelists for the District Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) events prepare their talks and coach them on delivery. Check out the DASER playlists on YouTube to see the many excellent talks they’ve hosted. Below are a few examples, giving a cross section of speakers and topics:
Ashley Bear: Branches from the Same Tree (w special guest Maria Dahlberg)
(this talk is a sequel of sorts to the Tom Rudin installment from 2016 – Ashley’s presentation is on the findings of the report that Tom announced was commencing then)
Prosanta Chakrabarty: Exploring the Aquatic World with Art and Science
(Prosanta delivered a TED talk in 2016 and was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2018)
Tom Rudin (with special guest Tom DiLiberto): Arts Integration – How Should We Do It? Who Should Do It? And Why Bother?
(I’ve previously coached Tom DiLiberto in 3 talks he gave at thirst. from 2013-2016. You can see one of those talks here – start the archived livestream at 10:09* [like all thirst. events in that time period, I coached all the other talks on that night as well, and co-wrote many of them])
Melissa Walker: Art Therapy with Military Service Members
(Melissa gave a TEDMED talk a few weeks after this DASER talk)
From 2014 – 2016, I ran the Chemistry Champions, or “ChemChamps” contest at the American Chemical Society (ACS). This multi-round competition empowered younger chemists (i.e 35 years old or younger) to tell the public about the research they did or a chemistry concept that intrigued them. Based on online video entry, by either judging on quality by science communications colleagues at ACS or entrants’ view counts, we flew semifinalists to a central location and trained them to present their 3 minute talks in front of a live audience. Finalists then competed on stage in the city hosting the Fall National Meeting of the ACS that year.
In 2014, I introduced the contest using the entrepreneurially inspirational story of chemist William Perkin.
Complete playlists of the entries and finalists’ videos:
Science Communications Consulting
Landscaping Overview of U.S. Facilitators of Scientists’ Engagement Communities
– lead author and report presenter at “Support Systems for Scientists’ Communication and Engagement, Workshop IV”; held at the Asilomar center in Monterey, CA, May 2018;
Supported by The Kavli Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, The David & Lucille Packard Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Online Science Videos
Debuting in 2018, Hot Mess is a show about climate change, including both the science and the societal implications. Videos include options viewers can consider for their own lives. A part of PBS Digital Studios, co-produced by the makers of It’s Okay To Be Smart.
American Chemical Society’s Reactions
From 2014 – 2018, I was a technical reviewer for dozens of the ACS’s Reactions videos and contributed writing and hosting to several. It was great working with the team using my experience researching and teaching chemistry (and planetary science thrown in for good measure), and it taught me a lot about online video production.
You should watch all the ACS Reactions videos, and many more, science or not, from their affiliate PBS Digital Studios channels.
Writer / Co-Writer (host where indicated)
Accidental Discoveries That Changed the World, writer and host
Accidental Discoveries That Go Boom, writer and host
What is the Blackest Black?, co-writer
Is Fluoride in Drinking Water Safe?, writer and co-host
How Do We Know How Old the Earth Is?, co-writer
How Pee Brought You the Modern World, co-writer and host
The Race to Invent the Periodic Table, writer
The One Where We Put Stuff in Acid, writer
How Do We Tell Temperature?, co-writer and host
Why Do Superhydrophobic Materials Never Get Wet?, co-writer
How Do Worms Turn Garbage into Compost?, co-writer and host
Host / Narrator
AACT Founders of Chemistry Series
(co-writer and host of many … below one is freely available)
Science/Technology Policy Briefings
From July 2011 – March 2017, I managed the ACS Science & the Congress Project, running 55 briefings in that time period. Started in 1995, this series of public policy briefings included experts in various science and technology topics to educate and inform congressional staffers and other Washington, DC-based policy professionals. My role was to research and determine topics, assemble the program, prepare panelists to speak on their topic in the time allotted, and work with Congressional offices and ACS colleagues on all event logistics.
A list of all briefings run since 1995 are available here, with video where available. A sample of briefings I ran is below:
Open Science in 2017: Predictions and Guesses
January 11, 2017
Citizen Science: Empowering a Robust National Effort
June 7, 2016
21st Century Understanding of Chemicals
April 6, 2015
Innovative Researchers, Commercial Skillsets: Training Entrepreneurs
September 29, 2014
Evolving Thinking on Conservation Policy
November 4, 2013
Opportunity with STEM: Attract, Retain, and Diversify
October 16, 2012
(a live version of this briefing was repeated before the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology [PCAST] in late 2012, organized by panelist and then PCAST member S. James Gates; thus bringing the briefing program content to the attention of the Executive Office of the President of the United States)
Selected Workshop Hosts
Arizona State University
Biomedical engineering and science researchers speaking with non-scientist audiences.
Science Outside The Lab
Early career, as well as graduate and undergraduate student, scientists and engineers with an interest in national science/technology policy.
Early career, as well as graduate student, social scientists with an interest in municipal through international levels of science/technology policy.
George Washington University
Institute for International Science & Technology Policy
The GW Nuclear Security Policy Bootcamp
Early career and graduate student scientists and engineers with an interest in nuclear policy.
Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Honor Society
With special thanks to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for their support of science communications programming.
Image credit: National Academy of Sciences
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