SciComm 2019, a national science communication conference, will come to Manhattan in March and offer opportunities to engage the public in science.

The conference will be March 22-24 at Kansas State University. SciComm 2019, which is co-hosted by the Kansas Science Communication Initiative and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is dedicated to understanding and promoting effective communication of science to diverse audiences, including students of all levels as well as the general public.

“This conference will be a great way for our K-State students, faculty and staff to build their science communication skills and make connections with people in the community and at other universities,” said Peter Dorhout, the university’s vice president for research. “Our goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university depends on our abilities to effectively articulate what we do and why we do it as part of our land-grant mission. This conference will offer the chance to learn new strategies in a fun and collaborative environment.”

The conference includes two keynote speakers: Danielle N. Lee, a 2015 TED Fellow and a Southern Illinois University scientist who studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology, and Kevin Folta, a professor of horticultural sciences at the University of Florida and host of the Talking Biotech Podcast.

The weekend conference has several key focus areas, including STEM learning, science communication research, science and media, disciplinary-based education research and broader impacts.

Other events will be offered in three tracks: media, informal education and outreach/communication for scientists and researchers. The conference will include pre-conference workshops, a film festival and lightning talks on Friday evening, a Community Science Festival at Sunset Zoo on Saturday afternoon, and an “Explain it like I’m 5!” Open Mic Night on Saturday as well as other events.

“I am really excited about SciComm 2019, because it will bring together scientists, K-12 teachers, zoo and museum educators, as well as media producers,” said Michi Tobler, an associate professor of biology and one of the conference organizers. “I hope this conference will help these different groups to get to know each other better and join forces to spread enthusiasm for science and research.”

The SciComm conference is coming to Kansas State University through a partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The conference began at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015 and was held there in 2016 and 2018. The conference has become successful at attracting faculty, teachers and education-focused professionals nationwide.

“The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is excited to partner with KSCI to bring the 2019 SciComm conference to K-State,” said Michael Herman, the director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “The partnership with K-State allows us to expand to a regional audience and allow for more collaboration among science communicators in the Midwest and across the country.”