Like I was saying, change is possible.
My work today builds on a foundation of seeing and helping the "impossible" actually happen in communities across North America for nearly two decades. (And from knowing where I came from and where I am now.) For positive change to happen in academia, though, people need models, tools, and ways of working together that are concrete, inclusive, and evidence-based. So, now, I'm leaning into collaborations and rabble-rousing approaches that insist that -- with the resources we have in higher ed -- the changes happening elsewhere can and must help us make academia better, too.
The Longer Story
On faculty at the University of Wyoming, I work toward positive change in four key ways. I:
Conduct research on the efficacy of justice-centered science communication training, art-science integration, and the efficacy of training and support programs;
Teach courses in evidence-based, inclusive science communication; scientific writing; and justice-informed frameworks for sustainable careers in and beyond academia;
Lead social justice and assessment initiatives across campus;
Consult on strategic initiatives across campus.
I study, use, and provide training on transdisciplinary approaches to enhance inclusive scicomm and inform equitable institutional change. I also teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on inclusive scicomm, scientific writing, and justice-informed frameworks for sustainable careers in and beyond academia.
I have written over 300 articles, and I have bylines and illustrations in publications including Nature, American Scientist, BioScience, Ecology and Society, Natural Sciences Education, Western Confluence, and more.
My award-winning work can also be seen in projects including a college-level writing textbook and illustrations in books and films including And Then There Were None, Wild Migrations: Atlas of Wyoming’s Ungulates, and Deer 139.
Right now, I’m a subject/associate editor for the FACETS journal (Royal Society of Canada). I was formerly a multi-term associate editor of the Natural Sciences Education journal (Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies) and the founding editor of the Communicating Science section of The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America.
Teaching & Professional Development
Communication skills are central to how students and scientists contribute to and share biological science, and I work to cultivate and enhance these skills. Through courses and other trainings, I advocate for a diverse, inclusive view of who belongs in science, who has access to science, who represents science, and how science is shared.
I am committed to curriculum design, instructional practices, and assessment that ensure coursework and trainings are relevant and that participants gain (and are able to articulate and apply) transferable skills which build on their existing knowledge, identities, and self-efficacy. I develop curriculum with the recognition that foundational and advanced skills in writing and other modes of communication (e.g., graphic design, facilitation, etc.) are fundamental to people’s abilities to share science with peers and beyond academia.
Building these skills is a critical way we can support students’ and professionals’ growth as engaged citizens, regardless of their career paths. Furthermore, science writing and communication skills are essential for expanding access to science and enhancing the relevance of the science we do. I am both enthusiastic about, and deeply committed to, supporting science-trained people at all career levels as they explore how science communication and engagement fit into the spectrum of science-allied careers.
Science Communication & Public Engagement
I lead communications and strategic planning initiatives for academic, community development, education, journalism, and public policy organizations. In 2017, I co-founded the UWyo Science Communication Initiative, a grassroots, campus-wide initiative which envisions a campus community that values, supports, and creates effective science communication and engagement. We provide trainings and collaborate to help build a community of science communication practitioners and scientists doing science communication at all career levels. Through WySCI, I lead a SciComm Certification program and coach scientists at all career levels to effectively share science and raise money to do so.
In addition to my work at the University of Wyoming, I co-founded and led the Communication and Engagement Section (est. 2013) of the Ecological Society of America for nearly a decade. I am also the founding editor of the Communicating Science department of The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, ESA’s oldest journal. Both of these ESA-related endeavors provide excellent science communication resources for scientists and practitioners working on public engagement and broader impacts efforts.
Today, I continue to establish and co-lead professional development programs to support science communication professionals and transdisciplinary researchers. Right now, I'm leading or co-leading these efforts: Meteor: SciComm with Impact, UW-IMPACT, UW-MENTOR, UW-Science Communication Initiative, and the Science Communication in Undergraduate Teaching and Education (SCUTE) RCN.
I also collaborate with agency, nonprofit, industry, and academic entities working toward these goals. Through this work, I have trained over 4,000 scientists on how to inclusively share their science with diverse audiences and raise funding to do so.