I will be in Chicago, Illinois, attending the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, meeting in Chicago February 13-17, 2014. As the largest general science conferences ever it hosts presentations and demonstrations health, medicine, agriculture, engineering, life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, education, mathematics, policy, and more.

I will be presenting on Thursday, February 13 and Friday, February 14 - both sessions will be about science communication and the role of social media in public outreach.

On Thursday, February 13, AAAS is hosting a day long series of panels about Communicating with Journalists. UPDATE: You can watch the live stream of the Science Communication Sessions online for free; but you will need to sign up for user credentials. Info and links to sign up to watch the webcast here.

I'll be speaking at the second session Engaging with Social Media. I will discuss Raising STEM Awareness Among Under-Served and Under-Represented Audiences.

Summary of my presentation

The African-American community’s relationship with science and research communities has been fraught with many challenges. Despite the economic promise of science plus technology and engineering careers, African-Americans make up less than 10% of the Science & Engineering workforce. Despite opportunities to report on important topics such as energy, the environment, and health technology or on discoveries made African-American scientists, science-related journalism directed to minority audiences is mostly non-existent. In this presentation I will discuss some the communication challenges that need to be bridged between science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) communities and the journalism communities, specifically ethnic media outlets. Specifically I will outline some of the strategies proposed by the National Science and Technology News Service, a newly media literacy project involving minority scientists, engineers, medical professionals, journalists, and press outlets.

As a result of this talk and the entire theme of the day, I have been lobbying hard to encourage reporters from underrepresented demographics and those who serve target demographics via local and national outlets please attend the AAAS meeting. The entire slate is very relevant and I hope that having a diverse cadre of reporters attending the meeting really opens up Black and other Ethnic media outlets to the rich journalist opportunities that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) offers to reporters of every genre and media.

Journalists can apply for press passes on site beginning February 12. Information about credientials can be found here.

And even if you're still not all the way sure about attending and covering the entire big science conference, there is plenty of opportunity to engage.

Super-low-hanging fruit

AAAS Meeting Public Events which includes a Science Film Festival; Science Storytelling Theatre- it's not corny at all and super cool. I've done it and it totally rocks!; a Science Cafe, a live podcast recording of the Naked Scientists, and Sexy Science Presentation just in time for Valentines Day. oooh!

But perhaps my favorite public activity is AAAS Family Science Days!

OMGee! So much fun. Two days of interactive, fun science and tech and engineering activities and demonstrations from museums and science labs all over the country. No the world! Perfect for all ages so load the whole family up on the train and come downtown. It will be a treat for everyone.


Then on Friday afternoon, February 14, I will be presenting in a session Getting Started in Social Media with Bethany Brookshire (@Scicurious) and Christie Wilcox(@NerdyChristie). We will be giving scientists the 411 on how to use Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to do some engaging science outreach on a tight time budget.


After Chicago, I will be headed to Knox College to give a science seminar with a little discussion of science outreach, too. More details of that in an upcoming post.