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Stepping Up, Stepping Back: New Leadership and Next Steps for the SciComm Training Network

By Dr. Amanda Stanley, Executive Director of COMPASS, and Dr. Laura Lindenfeld, Executive Director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science


Fall has officially arrived in North America. Leaves are turning brilliant colors and falling from trees, there’s a crispness in the air, and birds are migrating south for the winter in characteristic ‘Vs’. Nature has long provided inspiration and insight for human endeavors, and so it feels particularly appropriate that the SciComm Training Network Summit took place at this natural turning point in the year.


The attendees of the 2019 SciComm Training Network Summit. Photo by the Chan Zuckerberg Institute.

On October 14 and 15, 36 people gathered in Redwood City, California, to discuss work done to date to form a science communication training network, and explore possibilities for the future of such a network. Those present brought knowledge and experience from many backgrounds, identities, locations, ideologies, institutions, and approaches. We all shared an interest in providing training, skills, and tools to those seeking to communicate science effectively.

Our time together focused on clarifying the purpose, priorities, principles, and participants of the proposed Network, and identifying activities and forming teams to support the launch and longevity of such a Network (view a more detailed summary here). Electing an inaugural Core Team was a crucial aspect of those formation discussions. We are thrilled that Darcy Gentleman, Elyse Aurbach, Eve Klein, Jai Ranganathan, and Rose Hendricks all stepped up to lead this effort, officially launching the SciComm Training Network into its first year! They bring a wealth of perspectives and strengths to this work, and we’re eager to join the broader network in supporting them as they shepherd the ongoing evolution of this group.


Last year at the December 2018 Summit, we discussed the idea of a community of practice, or network, to support science communication trainers. For some time, we’ve felt the need for stronger connection and collaboration across the field of science communication and have heard that sentiment echoed by others doing this work. As organizations with the capacity and resources to support the early stages of addressing that need, it was our privilege to help this project reach this point. We have been inspired and motivated throughout the uncertainties and challenges of this endeavor by the idea that together, we can travel further and accomplish more.


We are deeply grateful for the investments and thought-partnership of the Kavli Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative throughout the evolution of this project, and for the facilitation and network-formation expertise of Converge.


Migratory birds, as they fly in formation, take turns leading the flock to conserve energy. We are thrilled for the new Core Team’s leadership as we fly forward together, and for the powerful potential of this new Network to be realized!

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© 2023 by COMPASS Science Communication, Inc.