Communicating Your Research
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Alda Center for Communicating Science
Looking to enhance your ability to talk about your research to anyone? The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science offers a series of 1-credit graduate-level modules on their innovative communication techniques for connecting with an audience. Interested participants are recommended to begin with one of the following courses:
- JRN 501 Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message. Students learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters, in terms non-scientists can understand. Practice finding common ground with listeners and speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences. Includes a video interview with a journalist.
- JRN 503 Communicating Science: Improvisation for Scientists. This innovative course uses improvisational theater techniques to help students communicate more directly and responsively. It’s not about acting; it’s about connecting with an audience.
Undergraduates can enroll in SOLAR for JRN 365 Talking Science, which is designed to help science majors learn to speak effectively and responsively with multiple audiences, from peers and professors to potential employers and policymakers.
Communicating Science courses are open to masters and PhD students in STEM disciplines. Tuition is covered for PhD students (in the fall or spring semester) if they are currently supported full time by their program (TA/GA/RA or Fellow) and have a full Graduate Tuition Scholarship. Enrollment in the course requires pre-approval from your Graduate Program Director. Masters students can also enroll and pay tuition as normal. Students register through SOLAR.
A limited number of seats are reserved in most Alda Center courses for postdocs to enroll "free" as an auditor. Postdocs may only sign up for one class per semester, and must sign up during course registration each semester by contacting the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only two seats per section are available on a first come, first served basis. Postdoc enrollment typically opens mid semester for the next semester's courses. Postdoc enrollment is available in:
- JRN 501 Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message
- JRN 502 Communicating Science: Writing To Be Understood
- JRN 503 Communicating Science: Improvisation for Scientists
- JRN 508 Communicating Science: Engaging Key Audiences
- JRN 509 Communicating Science: Presenting Science Unplugged
- JRN 512 Video Storytelling for Scientists
Grant & Proposal Writing
Find the right funding for your research needs and learn how to distill your message to communicate to non-specialist grant reviewers. All graduate students and postdocs are welcome.
Three Minute Thesis Competition
Stony Brook's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition takes place each Spring. PhD students in all disciplines who have advanced to candidacy are invited to present on their dissertation findings to a general audience in only three minutes. While 3MT is a competition, Stony Brook emphasizes the professional development gained by all competitors, who join a cohort of students to undergo specialized communication training in distilling the message of their research for any audience.
SBU Postdoc Spotlight
Stony Brook's Postdoc Spotlight is an opportunity for postdocs to hone their communication skills by presenting their research for a general audience in only five minutes. These bitesized talks provide an exciting snapshot of postdoctoral research for our campus community, drawing a full house from across campus. Postdoc speakers receive intensive coaching on their talks from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, providing them with tools for talking about their research with any audience. Prizes are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place talks. The Postdoc Spotlight is held annually during the Fall semester.
Advanced Certificate in Health Communications
This 18-credit program is designed to prepare public health workers, health professionals, journalists, and other communications professionals to communicate health-related issues to the public directly or through the press. The certificate is offered jointly by the Alda center and the Program in Public Health and the School of Journalism.
WRT 621: Graduate-Level Writing. The Program in Writing and Rhetoric will offer a course each semester, WRT 621, Graduate-Level Writing, designed for students in all disciplines. The course will be a workshop that allows the students to work on whatever writing they are currently doing in their graduate programs, whether course papers, lab reports, reviews of research, publishable articles, or theses. The students for the course will be from all disciplines and they will learn from each other as well as from the instructor. The course will concern itself with all the fundamentals of writing, from considerations of grammar and punctuation, to rhetorical considerations of audience, evidence, inference-drawing, sentence and paragraph construction, and organization.
JRN 502: Communicating Science: Writing to Be Understood. This course is offered by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, and focuses on writing strategies. Students develop their ability to write about science or health for a public audience without “dumbing down” their material. The course focuses on such forms as letters to the editor, blogs and op-edits. See the course schedule for more information.