Communicating Science

Scientists are creative. They are constantly developing and building the tools they need to advance their work. This year, the Ph.D./Postdoc Community of Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, a leading public research institute in Germany, reached across the water to engage improvscience in their professional development.

improvscience designs and implements programs that develop scientists’ ability to communicate and collaborate with one another. Dr. Raquell Holmes discovered that building playful learning groups, expands scientists and technical professionals ability to collaborate, innovate and lead productive careers.

The core is the same, but each workshop is different. The Professional Presentations workshops make use of improvisation to build a group context in which scientists can explore, stretch and develop their presentation voice. Mia Anderson of Mia Anderson Consulting worked with Holmes to develop this workshop for the Harvard graduate students.  "Each person has their own style. We're working to develop who that person is," says Mia Anderson.

Dr. Holmes' relationship to the Bioinformatics program of Boston University is long if not continuous. Recently, along with improvscience performance director Mia Anderson of Mia Anderson Consulting, she has been integrating the Professional Presentations performance coaching within the graduate seminar led by Daniel Segre.

Chemists have great things to say and they're showing it in the Chemistry Champions Competition of the American Chemical Society. You can see the 2-3 minute video submissions starring researchers and their research. They imagined telling their favorite non-scientist family member what they do, and why. The videos are awesome. Why? Because they are people creatively sharing something about themselves and what they care about. Check out the semi-finalists' videos! 

Once the presentation is outlined, slides created and the talk scripted out, what do you do? You perform! In improvscience's professional presentations workshops, participants receive coaching and practice in giving their scientific presentations. This video clip shows a students presentation before and after 10-15 minutes of coaching in the improvisation based workshop.

Are you exploring, researching, or practicing performance in science? Join us for Cultivating Ensembles in STEM Education and Research 2015 presented by improvscience and hosted by UC Berkeley TRUST Center.

 Nicholas Gross talks on the role of improvisation for conversation and communication in STEM classrooms.

November 22nd, I have the honor of joining Dr. Lenora Fulani at the All Stars UX for their first Science and Math Day. UX is the newest grassroots initiative of the All Stars Project in New York City. I was first introduced to improvisation in the performance workshops of the All Stars Talent Show Network, their flagship youth program.

August 21st in Washington, D.C. thirst will host 4 speakers. At this thirst one of them will be Dr. Holmes of improvscience. Thirst creates an informal, yet entertaining environment for attendees and speakers to interact. The goal as a speaker is to give a talk you've never given before or that you've always wanted to give. A wonderful challenge. You can see some of the earlier speakers on their youtube channel.


Improving scientists' ability to communicate their science to a broad audience is being addressed in a variety ways.