Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Roxanne Bogucka, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
The UT Science Communication Interest Group (UT SCIG) formed in 2013, to advance public engagement by and networking among STEM researchers on campus, and to provide opportunities to develop science communication skills. UT SCIG’s signature events are its Science In Plain English competition, and Science Speed-Dating—both designed to allow participants to hone their skills at distilling messages and storytelling. Repeated observations over three years show a marked predominance of biomedical/biosciences participants. A survey of STEM public engagement events shows the same bias. This study seeks to evaluate the UT SCIG program. Members of the UT SCIG, as well as participants in UT SCIG events will be invited to complete an online survey. Focus groups of event participants, and their colleagues who have not participated in UT SCIG events, will be conducted. The UT SCIG program evaluation surveys and focus goups will particularly address these questions and observations: 1) Members of the biomed/biosci disciplines at UT are more common participants in UT SCIG’s science communication activities than members of other STEM disciplines and, 2) What are the characteristics of STEM disciplines that are more resistant/less amenable to SciComm participation? Results will be used to compare UT SCIG to science communication programs at other universities, and to guide program development across the STEM disciplines.