Improvisation for Scientists: Making a Human Connection

Sunday, 16 February 2014: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Grand Ballroom B (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Improvisational theater training is evolving as a promising tool to help scientists communicate more effectively with the public, including policy-makers, the media, students, funders, and even other scientists. The purpose of improvisation is not to teach scientists to become actors or comedians. Instead, the aim is to help them become more dynamic listeners who can focus their attention on the needs of their audience, read unspoken cues, and respond with openness, flexibility, and awareness. Improvisational games engage participants on a personal level, helping them tap into their passion when talking about science, and encourage the use of storytelling. The process teaches that personal connection with science is not inappropriate when talking to the public—it is imperative. This symposium brings together practitioners who have been using improvisation with scientists in a variety of settings, including courses for graduate students, workshops for medical students, and team-building exercises for scientists in the workplace. Through discussion of experiences, techniques, and challenges, it will provide an understanding of the ways improvisation can be used to help scientists tell their own story and connect directly with people outside their own field.
Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Stony Brook University
Elizabeth Bass, Stony Brook University
Elizabeth Bass, Stony Brook University
Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Stony Brook University
Improvisation in Graduate Science Education: What's the Use?
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