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Workshop Provides Tools for "Communicating Science Ninjas"

Fargo, N.D. – Give the public reasons to believe scientific research will take them where they want to go.

The message is among those presented at The National Science Foundation/Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research hands-on, interactive workshop to help researchers gain recognition of their work. The training to become “communicating science ninjas” provided tools to more than 100 researchers and graduate students attending the event “Science: Becoming the Messenger” held June 26-27 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo.

Participants from NDSU, UND and Valley City State University who attended the workshop learned ways to develop effective grant proposals, craft concise messages, use social media to promote science, forge effective presentations, and successfully navigate media interviews.

“I think it will be especially useful to take the information back to students to help them learn how to communicate science effectively,” said Wendy Reed, associate professor and head of biological sciences at NDSU.

Messages by workshop presenters included examples of how apt analogies and memorable metaphors can be used to concisely communicate science in interesting and understandable ways.

National media experts at the event included: Dan Agan, media strategist and communications counselor; Chris Mooney, best-selling science author and journalist; and Joe Schreiber, Emmy-Award-winning TV producer and filmmaker.

Other participants at the workshop found additional benefits in the sessions. “It’s been good training because you get trained to think as a scientist, but you also need to think about how the public is going to perceive your research,” said Kimberly Vonnahme, associate professor in animal sciences at NDSU. “One thing I’m going to do as a result of the training will be to pump up my presentations with impact so that people remember my message.”

Follow #NSFMessenger on Twitter to see discussion from the workshop.

A select group of North Dakota researchers received additional one-on-one training at a second day of the workshop to build on the fundamentals they learned.

The workshop was provided free of charge by ND EPSCoR  North Dakota EPSCoR is a federally- and state-funded program designed to improve the ability of university researchers to compete more effectively for federal, regional and private research grants in sciences, engineering and mathematics.

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