Training STEM Graduates to Communicate in the Digital Age, and Measuring Whether It Works

By Margaret Rubega, PI

The public invests billions of dollars annually in funding scientific research and training future scientists. These funds will not be well invested if scientists are not able to communicate what they know and explain how it is important. Scientists need to communicate effectively with colleagues to solve complex theoretical and practical problems. They need to be able to talk with policymakers if public funding of science is to yield benefits to society, and they need to talk with commercial partners to create opportunities for innovation. They need to talk with journalists to keep the public informed. Accordingly, science communication training is increasingly integrated into graduate science education, but there are no methods for determining whether training actually works or whether some training programs work better than others. This research developed tools to measure whether training in science communication works and tested which methods work best.

The project was built on an existing training course taught at the University of Connecticut. The investigators developed new teaching materials and innovative tools to evaluate whether their program succeeded in increasing communication effectiveness and activity among science, math and engineering students. The investigators harvested publicly available social media data about students, and their effectiveness as communicators was also scored by undergraduate communications students.


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Learn more at UConn’s The Science of Science Communication Training page