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.

spread knowledge

Science Communication Series

faculty members in science communication training

Faculty Science Communication Workshop

Fall 2021/Spring 2022 Dates TBD
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. 


Learn about Science Communication Training

graduate students listen to lecture

Graduate Student Science Communication Workshop

Fall 2021/Spring 2022 Dates TBD

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.

journalists speaking to crowd

Panel Discussion on Science Communication and Climate Change

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


"The COMPASS workshop drove home the huge potential for scientists to get better at communicating the burning questions and wonder of discovery that we experience as researchers. It is a great privilege to communicate science, and the COMPASS workshop gave me the tools to make tremendous progress in exercising that privilege."

Kristina Douglass, Joyce and Doug Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African Studies


“The COMPASS workshop quickly helped me assess where my strengths and weaknesses were in communicating my research. The journalists provided helpful techniques for telling a story about my work that would be accessible and interesting to different audiences.”

Corey Griffin, Associate Dean for Research and an Associate Professor of Architecture at Penn State Altoona