Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. — Albert Einstein
Traditional scientific training typically does not prepare scientists and engineers to be effective communicators outside of academia. However funding agencies and research institutions are increasingly encouraging researchers to extend beyond peer-reviewed publishing and communicate their results directly to the greater public. In response, our program, along with the AAAS Center for Public Engagement, provides all IRIS interns with education and resources to help them communicate about their research more broadly with the public.
Through a 90-minute webinar, generally run midway through the summer, IRIS interns learn the basics of communication how-to tips for constructing short articles and slide presentations, and a review of tools available from AAAS for other types of public communication. Following the webinar, each interns creates either a brief new article or slide presentation to communicate their summer's research to a audience of 15 to 18 year olds that are unfamiliar with the research. This assignment is submitted to IRIS and AAAS staff; who provide each intern with personalized constructive feedback. At the end of the summer, interns update the assignment to incorporate feedback provided previously and to accommodate the progress of their research. You can view interns communications assignments on the current intern page.