Skip to main content

2017 Annual Meeting

Sessions hosted by the ESA SciComm Section

workshops; live storytelling session & discussion; “Ask A Pro” mentoring meet-ups; #SketchYourScience; business meeting & meet-up — details below.

1. Workshop: Improv Your Science: building skills for effective communication

Improv graphicMonday, August 7, 10:15-11:30 am
OCC room C123

Start the Annual Meeting off right and join in on a fun and interactive session. We will focus on building and practicing skills to strengthen public speaking, adaptability, listening, and teamwork. Practicing improvisation can help scientists talk about their research spontaneously, become more open and direct in their communications, and build stronger connections with their audiences. We will practice how to adjust intonation and body language based on audience cues, and learn how to listen to understand. The session will provide tools to improve all forms of oral communication, from conference presentations and public lectures to meetings with policymakers and journalists.

Dr. Annaliese Hettinger, the ESA SciComm Section’s Secretary, will lead this workshop. Click to view in program.

2. Workshop: Branding is not a dirty word: marketing yourself and your science in a digital world

branding graphicMonday, August 7, 11:30 am-1:15 pm
OCC room D131

Many scientists cringe at the notion of “branding” themselves or their science, but establishing a cohesive marketing strategy can help you achieve better collaborators, stronger grant applications, and more exciting professional opportunities. In this lively, interactive workshop, we will cover the fundamentals of identifying, developing, maintaining, and leveraging your personal brand (the things that make you, YOU) to expand your opportunities in research and beyond.

This workshop will be led by our new Chair, Dr. Kika Tuff, founder of Impact Media Lab, a science communication agency. Click to view in program.

3. SciComm Section Business Meeting

ESA meeting 2013 - Minneapolis, MN

Photos from meeting, Twin Stadium, food trucks, farmers markets and the city

Tuesday, August 8, 6:30-8:00 pm
OCC room E142

Join us for a brief engaging (we promise!) business meeting where we’ll discuss how to allocate our budget, finalize plans for the next officer election (including accepting nominations for next year’s officers!), and start planning for #ESA2018. Afterward, let’s adjourn to a local watering hole to talk #scicomm, network, and catch up. Looking forward to hanging out with you and getting your input for the direction of the section!

4. Storytelling Social for Science Communication

ESA meeting 2013 - Minneapolis, MN

Photos from meeting, Twin Stadium, food trucks, farmers markets and the city

Wednesday, August 9, 11:30 am-1:15 pm
OCC D140

Erin Barker and Shane Hanlon of the Story Collider will lead a discussion about telling your science story. The best available science tells us that for most audiences, stories are more interesting, understandable, convincing, and memorable than evidence‐focused communications. However, scientists are unfamiliar with this literature and often resist or distrust storytelling approaches.
This storytelling social explores how to develop and tell personal stories about science with intellectual honesty and ethical consideration. Lecture and discussion will share research on storytelling and narrative persuasion and highlight the value of personal stories in science. Participants will learn how to find, develop, and perform their own deeply human stories of science.  Click to view in program.

5. Springer Nature Storytellers at ESA: Sips, Snacks, and Stories about Ecology

unnamed.pngWednesday, August 9, Doors open at 6:30PM and the show runs from 7:00-9:00 pm.
OCC room B116
RSVP here (required); each RSVP includes one free drink!

Join Springer Nature, our partners at The Story Collider and the ESA Science Communication Section for a fun evening of sips, snacks and true, personal ecology stories told by researchers themselves. Inspirational, captivating, enlightening and certainly entertaining, you will have the opportunity to hear about and connect with the experiences of those on the front lines of ecological discovery.

Karin Bodewits
Kirsten Grorud-Colvert
Laura Meyerson
Ricardo Rozzi
Elisa Schaum

6. “Ask a Pro” Mixers during Happy Hours in Exhibit Hall: Volunteers Needed!

One of the main requests members made in the 2015 section planning survey was networking and mentorship support and opportunities.

We’re looking for volunteers willing to be at our booth to help us meet these objectives.

Volunteers will respond to career and career-transition questions and generally represent the diversity of possible SciComm careers already pursued by ESA members. Section officers will be present to answer questions about the section itself.

Please contact us directly if you are willing to volunteer for one or more of these sessions. And if you have ideas and suggestions, please let us know!

“Ask a SciComm Pro” Schedule*

4-6 pm in the exhibit hall, during poster sessions & happy hour

Monday, 8/7: Ask a Visual SciComm Pro
Filmmakers, photographers, designers & illustrators

Tuesday, 8/8: Ask an Outreach/Ed SciComm Pro
Educators, nonprofit outreach pros & tenure-track faculty who do lots of SciComm

Wednesday, 8/9: Ask a Writing/Storytelling SciComm Pro
Journalists, press officers & PIOs, etc.

*If you have innovative SciComm experience (e.g., drama, dance, children’s books, etc.), we welcome you, too! Please volunteer for the happy hour that seems most relevant to you.

7. #SketchYourScience (booth volunteers needed)

ESA meeting 2013 - Minneapolis, MN

This popular activity will be back for the third straight year! This activity will be available at our booth on an on-going basis throughout the conference.

Drop by our booth to share a visual explanation of your research, system, study organism, etc. Every year, we learn a ton about what ESA members are studying and the stories behind their research.

And importantly, there is a lot of research pointing to a host of benefits for using drawing to learn, assess, and communicate science. Don’t worry -your sketch doesn’t have to be fancy! The beauty is in the story it tells.

Please contact us if you’d like to volunteer at the SciComm Section booth this year. We’ll provide you everything you need to know to answer questions, connect people to member resources, etc.


SciComm -related activities and sessions at #ESA2017

If you’re looking for even more SciComm at the conference, here are some sessions that caught our attention.

This list is in development. If you are aware of an activity, session, or talk taking place which relates to SciComm, feel free to suggest we add it to the list by emailing or by using the comments section below. We will update this page as often as possible.

Sessions are listed below according to type: Social/Business, Workshops, Ignites, Special Sessions, Symposia, and Talks.


  • SciComm Section Business Meeting & Meet-Up; Tuesday, August 8, 6:30-8:00pm, OCC room E142
  • #SketchYourScience at SciComm booth throughout conference
  • Ask a Pro meet-ups at SciComm booth: M-W, 4-6pm in the Exhibit Hall. Click here for details and to volunteer!
  • 500 Women Scientist lunch meet-up: Tuesday August 8 12-1:15pm (OCC A105)
  • Storytelling Social for Science Communication: Wednesday, August 9, 11:30 am-1:15 pm (OCC D140)
  • Springer Nature Storytellers at ESA-Sips, Snacks, and Stories about Ecology: Wednesday, August 9. Doors open at 6:30PM and the show runs from 7:00-9:00 pm.
    OCC room B116 RSVP here (required); each RSVP includes one free drink!
  • Public Engagement Social (Open to All ESA Members), Wednesday, August 9 6:30-8:00 PM.


WK 31 – Branding is not a dirty word: marketing yourself and your science in a digital world. Led by SciComm Section chairperson Kika Tuff.

*Though technically a special session, SciComm Section secretary Annaliese Hettinger is leading an Improv Your Science workshop. See SS 3 below or click here for details.


IGN 7 – Ecological Art-Science Collaborations; SciComm Section chairperson-elect, Bethann Garramon Merkle, will be doing an Ignite on art-science synergies as part of this Ignite session.


Special Sessions

SS 3 – Improv Your Science: building skills for effective communication. Led by SciComm Section secretary Annaliese Hettinger.




Talks & Posters

If you are giving, or know of, a regular conference talk relating to some kind of SciComm, please let us know. We will happily post links to the program listing, but we don’t currently have the capacity to search the entire program for potentially relevant talks.

Don’t see what you’re looking for?

Click here for a search of the #ESA2017 preliminary program using “science communication”.