Kansas State University


Graduate School

Science communication is on the tip of the tongues at Kansas State University

The Graduate School, in partnership with the Office of Vice President of Research, the Sunset Zoo, Flint Hills Discovery Center, and the National Science Foundation is providing graduate students and faculty with opportunities to enhance their science communication skills. Workshops, seminars, and other activities and events are being offered on campus and within the Manhattan community.

In collaboration with the Sunset Zoo, the Science Communication Fellowships (SCF) provides graduate students and faculty the opportunity to connect the community to science and elevate the understanding of science-related work taking place in the region. Since the launch in 2015, 38 graduate students and 18 faculty have participated in the fellowship. Beginning this semester,  fellows training is supported by the National Science Foundation and numerous partners.

Over the past year, K-State faculty, staff and students set to engage communities in understanding, enthusiastically promoting, and actively participating in science and research through the Science Communication Initiative, or KSCI.

The KSCI provides and fosters research-based communication training for scientists and communicators that facilitates effective collaboration between both groups and implements best practices in helping different audiences better understand and appreciate the work of scientists and researchers.

The inaugural Science Communication Week is scheduled for November 6-11. Science Communication Week is organized around the graduate student poster competition, Research and the State on November 9.

Sponsors for Science Communication week include: The Graduate School, Division of Biology, A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Department of English, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, Friends of Sunset Zoo, Flint Hills Discovery Center, Center for Engagement and Community Development and the Vice President for Research.

The Science Communication Week’s activities include:

  • Monday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m., Flint Hills Discovery Center, 515 S. Third St., Manhattan, “Seeing science (and telling the tale)” with National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson. Presenting images and their stories, Richardson will share his National Geographic career covering science stories ranging from neolithic archeology, soil, agriculture and feeding the planet, geology in the Scottish islands, genetically modified foods, prairie ecology, light pollution, dark skies and more.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., Radina’s Coffeehouse and Roastery, 616 N. Manhattan Ave., Manhattan, Sigma Xi Science Café: “Genomes, body plans, birth defects (and sea squirts!)” with Michael Veeman, assistant professor of biology. Learn how research in diverse model organisms is illuminating embryonic development and why it is relevant to diseases like birth defects and cancer.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research Open House, 1515 College Ave., Manhattan. Learn how Manhattan’s largest structure and the research tools inside help improve the lives of the public at the open house for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, USDA-ARS, center.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tallgrass Tap House, 320 Poyntz Ave., Science on Tap: “Avoiding Controversy When Covering Controversial Science” with NPR science correspondent Joe Palca. Some science topics have become hot-button issues because they touch on politically or socially sensitive issues. How do you present these topics in a way that avoids appearing partisan? Palca will try to provide some answers to that question.
  • Thursday, Nov. 9, noon to 5 p.m., K-State Student Union, Research and the State. Join the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate School as they host the 2017 Research and the State event. This campuswide research forum will provide an outlet for graduate students to share how their research is important to the state of Kansas.
  • Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:30 p.m., Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union, “Explaining the universe in two minutes or less” with NPR science correspondent Joe Palca. The news media is frequently accused of “dumbing down” science, but that’s an unfair criticism. Palca will provide examples of reporting on complex science topics and show how to pack information into two minutes. A reception and exhibition will follow the presentation.
  • Saturday, Nov. 11, 1 to 3 p.m., Sunset Zoo, 2333 Oak St., Manhattan, Science Saturday. Science Saturdays offer families and guests of all ages fun, hands-on activities to discover this fascinating world. Featuring the Science Communication Fellows, this come-and-go event shares their research in a unique and exciting way. The zoo will offer free admission in honor of Veterans Day.

Learn more about the K-State Science Communication Initiative here.