Symposium ZZ: Communicating Social Relevancy in Materials Science and Engineering Education

Communicating Social Relevancy in Materials Science and Engineering Education

It is essential for materials scientists and engineers to consider the interactions of their work with society more broadly and to be able to communi-cate effectively with diverse audiences. Dialogs with members of the general public require a range of skills that are often not part of the traditional materials science pedagogy. Communicating social relevancy in an educational setting can help participants to think about the responsible development of materials science research; the influence materials science has had on our lives; the influence we have had on materials science; social issues that materials science can address; fairness and access issues that can result from materials science advances; the importance of communication; the importance of audience; and more. This symposium explores diverse educational and communication approaches that the materials science community should consider adopting toward addressing the relationships between materials science and society.

The goal of this symposium is to bring together material scientists, social scientists, educators, media professionals, and industry professionals to share, learn about, and discuss innovations and advances in material science and engineering education, especially as related to the interplay between materials science/engineering and society.

In addition to hosting a range of speakers, this symposium will provide forums and panel discussions to encourage attendees to share experiences and discuss these important areas of materials science and engineering education. The symposium will also include a science communication workshop from the National Science Foundation that will enable researchers to learn to communicate effectively to a broad audience. Participants will learn how to craft and deliver a message, in addition to developing new media skills.

The organizers encourage participants to submit abstracts in other related areas not covered by the potential list of topics. Abstracts for forums and panel discussions are also invited.

Session topics will include:

  • Distilling your message: effective communication with the media
  • Using new communication tools and new media to reach broader audiences
  • Partnerships and tools for speaking with media representatives, social scientists, policymakers, etc.
  • Education and professional development tools to help materials scientists and engineers improve their communication skills
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations and projects that involve materials science and engineering
  • Best practices for science outreach about materials science and society
  • Development of educational materials related to materials science/engineering and society to use in diverse settings, including K-12, informal, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and more
  • K-12 materials science education: methods to implement, evaluate, and broaden diversity
  • Teaching materials science in context and with social relevancy
  • Helping materials science students consider alternative careers beyond the lab

Invited Speakers Include:

Paula Apsell (NOVA/WGBH), Ira Bennett (Arizona State Univ.), Eric Mazur (Harvard Univ.), Ronald Sandler (Northeastern Univ.), Howard Schneider (Stony Brook Univ.), Jonathan Stolk (Olin College), Jamey Whetmore (Arizona State Univ.). 

Symposium Organizers

Kathy Chen
California Polytechnic State University
Dept. of Materials Engineering
1 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Tel 805-756-6634

Rashmi Nanjundaswamy
University of California, Berkeley
Center for Technology Innovation
Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Dr., Berkeley, CA 94720
Tel 510-642-3153

Ainissa Ramirez
Yale University
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
P. O. Box 208321, New Haven, CT 06520
Tel 203-432-2156 

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