Pacific Science CenterBringing science to life.
Science Communication Fellowship
As part of Pacific Science Center’s Portal to the Public initiative, the Science Communication Fellowship provides training and ongoing opportunities for local scientists, engineers, researchers and other science-based professionals to engage with the public at Pacific Science Center about their work.
Who can be a Science Communication Fellow?
Active academic or industry researchers or other science-based professionals (post-baccalaureate or above) in the Puget Sound region are eligible to apply for the program as individuals. Previous participants have come from the University of Washington, the Allen Institute, the Center for Infectious Disease Research, Microsoft, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Earth & Space Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the City of Seattle, among others. Alternatively, an organization may arrange for several of its staff members to participate as a group.
What do Science Communication Fellows do?
Fellows begin by taking a multi-week science communication course to build skills in effectively engaging public audiences in research-oriented conversations. The course helps to refine key messages related to each Fellow’s area of expertise and offers practice with simple techniques for talking science with non-scientists. During the course, each Fellow develops a hands-on educational activity directly related to their area of work. Ample concept development and materials selection support is provided by Pacific Science Center staff.
After completing the course, Fellows participate in public engagement programs at Pacific Science Center. Meet a Scientist events are held most Saturdays at Pacific Science Center and highlight Science Communication Fellows and their activities. Other programming opportunities include Curiosity Days, Science in the City, Science and a Movie, and 21+ events. Fellows are also welcome to use activities developed during the course in classrooms, fairs, festivals, and other outreach venues beyond Pacific Science Center.
Why should I become a Science Communication Fellow?
Most Americans cannot name a living scientist.* By facilitating science-oriented interactions with the public, Science Communication Fellows put a face on science, and show young people that scientists can look like them. In addition, many previous participants have found it personally rewarding – and even fun! – to share their excitement about science with diverse audiences.
Furthermore, participation in public programming fulfills broader impacts components of many grants, and the skills gained in the training course can benefit communicative effectiveness in a variety of professional contexts. The Science Communication Fellowship offers ongoing access to a community of scientists and museum professionals who share ideas, strategies, and opportunities for public engagement with science.
*Source: A Research!America poll of U.S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics, with support from the American Society of Hematology, in November 2013.
How do I become a Science Communication Fellow?
Admission to the Science Communication Fellowship program is by competitive application, with applications accepted several times per year. In general, applications are welcomed from any eligible science-based professional. Occasionally, acceptance is limited by research topic and/or institutional affiliation due to funding arrangements.
Tuition for the science communication course is $2,500 and is typically paid with funds from the participant’s employer, department, or lab. If you would like help with language for requesting funding from such sources, please contact Padmin@pacsci.org. Partial or full scholarships are sometimes available. Discounted rates are available for groups wishing to sponsor four or more participants in a single cohort.
Are there other ways to experience this training?
Yes, we offer custom workshops for groups interested in developing their science communication skills without the full Science Communication Fellowship commitment.
“I think that nearly every aspect of the course is applicable, helpful, and relevant to other areas of my life. As a scientist, member of the public, student, and teacher, communication skills and awareness are essential to my role.”
“I joined [the Science Communication Fellowship] almost 10 years ago, under a sense of duty to ensure my field was represented at the event the training was connected to. Little did I know just how much fulfillment and enjoyment I would obtain from being a Fellow. It will make you more excited about your work. The enthusiasm is infectious. Being part of the Science Fellows has lead to multiple opportunities that I could have never predicted and put my career on a much more fruitful path.”
Currently Active Science Communication Fellows
Amanda Woodward Davis
Heather Herd Gustafson
Science Communication Fellowship Alumni
Ruth Hall Sedlak
D. Michael Heinekey
Daniel Ramirez Hernandez
Stefanie Iverson Cabral
Lisa Ann Lai
Cecilia Peralta Ferriz
Jens von der Linden
Brian M. Wasko