Penn state science communication

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

Science Communication

Good Science Deserves Good Communication

Each year, the Institutes of Energy and the Environment offers training and resources to help Penn State faculty, researchers, and graduate students to improve their science communication skills. The hope is that Penn Staters can better share their discoveries and results with the public, journalists, policymakers, and beyond.

Most years, IEE partners with COMPASS, an organization that helps scientists effectively share their knowledge in public discourse and decision-making. It provides practical support for scientists to engage without compromising the accuracy of their science.

COMPASS brings together expert facilitators and media professionals who train researchers on the best ways to make their work accessible to larger audiences.Image

spread knowledge

Science Communication Series


faculty members in science communication training

Faculty Science Communication Workshop

Spring Semester 2021
Invitation-only workshop

This virtual invitation-only workshop is intended to help Penn State faculty improve their communication skills with media and non-expert audiences including interdisciplinary proposal reviewers, industry, and foundation sponsors.

Participants will engage in intensive message development, role-play scenarios on their own research topic, and hone communication strategies based on constructive feedback from trainers, journalists, and fellow participants.  Registration is limited to twenty.

If you are interested in participating in the future, please let us know. 

Science Communication Training:
Climate Change

graduate students listen to lecture

Graduate Student Science Communication Workshop

Tuesday and Thursday
October 27 + 29, 2020
1 – 3 p.m. each day

Penn State graduate students learn how to make their research accessible to the media, policymakers, and the public. Learn how to become part of the conversation, including word choice, narrow/broad focuses, and being one small part of a larger topic. This hands-on workshop offers a comprehensive walk-through of COMPASS’s most fundamental communication tool. The workshop will feature special guest Richard Alley and include discussions on climate change. All disciplines are welcome. 

There is no cost to attend, and registration is limited to the first twenty-five. Attendees must be available and participate in both sessions. If an attendee needs to cancel, they must contact IEE immediately.Image

journalists speaking to crowd

Panel Discussion on Science Communication and Climate Change

October 28, 2020
3:30 – 4:45 

2020 featured an in-depth climate change discussion with journalists and Penn State experts as they relate their experiences communicating their research with the media and other audiences.

The panel was moderated by Nancy Baron, COMPASS.

This year’s participants were:

  • Iliana Baums, professor of biology
  • Kristina Douglass, assistant professor of anthropology
  • David Malakoff, Science Magazine
  • Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science
  • Jessica Myrick, associate professor of media studies

Watch Communicating Climate in a Complex World


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Student speaks to off camera group while motioning to visual aide
Graduate Program HeadDenise Solomon
Program CodeCAS
Campus(es)University Park (Ph.D., M.A.)
Degrees ConferredDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)Master of Arts (M.A.)Dual-Title Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences and African American and Diaspora StudiesDual-Title Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences and BioethicsDual-Title Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The Graduate FacultyView

The graduate program in Communication Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University trains students in communication science and rhetorical studies, with particular attention to political deliberation, health communication, interpersonal communication, public address, rhetorical theory, and the rhetoric of public culture. Our graduate students conduct research investigating how communication influences attitudes and behavior, relationship development and family dynamics, public life and public memory, democratic decision making, and struggles for social justice. The most recent assessment of doctoral programs conducted by the National Communication Association ranked our program in the top five for rhetorical studies, interpersonal and small group communication.

Part of the mission of Penn State’s Communication Arts and Sciences Department is “to create knowledge about the role of communication in diverse interpersonal, communal, national, international, and cultural settings.” To accomplish this goal, the department welcomes graduate students and affiliated scholars who represent the widest array of identities and perspectives. We value every individual’s race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, level of ability/disability and political perspective. We respect and seek to ensure each person’s right to define their own identity and to craft the language that best represents who they are. We foster community and shared belonging, but we also recognize that positions and interests sometimes diverge. A quality graduate program, like good communication, is the result of making room for and communicating across difference.

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