News & Events

Science Communication

Professional Development and Learning Series

Event Details

Professional Development Opportunities

Date: June 16, 2020

Time: 1:30pm - 3:30pm

Tuesday June 16, 2020: 1:30pm – 3:30pm EDT

What do you do exactly? A professional development workshop on science communication.

We, as a society, learn through each other. We tend not to pay attention to something until someone we know is doing that thing. Your family, friends, and colleagues all want to see what you do, because they are interested in you and want to be involved in your work! Astroparticle physics as well as other sciences are genuinely fascinating, but others need you to tell them why you’re interested, what you find exciting, and what specific problem you’re trying to solve.

Being met with glazed-over eyes, or zero comments on a post can be difficult and discouraging, but seeing interest develop and having someone following your research is one of the most rewarding aspects of a career in science. As more institutions and research groups recognize the myriad values of communicating science, there is an immense advantage in developing these skills and adding Science Communication to your career toolbox.

In this Professional Development and Learning Series session, we will cover two areas of scientific communication. First, we’ll look at identifying a result that is ready to share, and how to communicate such a result using publicly accessible language. Second, we’ll explore how to augment that language with images or aesthetics to make the most positive and impactful impression. While we will provide some recent scientific results to use, consider coming to the session thinking of your work. During the session, there will be time to practice putting these results into a publicly digestible format that you can use to share your research or something in the field that excites you.

Sharing your work can excite the public and inspire younger audiences, helping to create a culture of science literacy. It is part of the work that we, as scientists, need to do.

Let’s learn together how to be tour guides for our research.


Dr. Mark Richardson (Education and Outreach Officer, McDonald Institute). Mark works closely with Zachary Kenny to develop and implement education and outreach programs for the Queen’s and Kingston communities and beyond. Mark previously had research and education roles at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and Oxford University. Mark completed his PhD in Astrophysics at Arizona State University in 2014. Mark earned a BSc in Honours Astrophysics in 2009 from Saint Mary’s University in his hometown of Halifax.

Zachary Kenny (Communications Officer, McDonald Institute). As a professional graphic designer and brand manager, Zachary works to help develop and promote the activities and programs of the McDonald Institute and provides communications support to all areas of operations. He is passionate about science communication and is always looking for new and interesting ways to engage the Canadian public in astroparticle physics and the STEAM fields. Zachary is an abstract artist and art educator and holds a B.F.A from OCAD University and an M.F.A. in Art Education from Concordia University.