Duke’s Winter Breakaway offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students learning opportunities between semesters. The Winter Breakaway enables students to combine skills such as collaborative leadership, compelling communication across audiences and media, and complex problem solving with technical skills like digital competencies and data analysis. Some students will add a technical component to their repertoire while others will strengthen their humanistic skills; some students will do both.
Scientists speak and think differently from non-scientists, often to their own great frustration when they try to communicate effectively with media, policymakers and the general public. Why do we struggle to communicate, and what can we do to ease the problem? If we want to be ambassadors for science, we’re going to have to brush up on the language and culture of the non-science community.
This course will present both the theory and practice of effective science communication in written, oral, visual and social media channels. Topics include the empirical benefits of communicating science; development of speaking, writing, and storytelling practices for diverse audiences; answering difficult, controversial, and critical questions; and tweeting, blogging, and presenting research to engage non-scientists, including potential funders and policy makers.
The course is led by Karl Bates and Jory Weintraub. Karl is a science journalist and Director of Research Communications at Duke’s University Communications Office. Jory is a biologist (PhD in Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill) who has focused his career on science communication, education and outreach.