Thomas Hayden

Keynote #1: Defending the Golden Age of Science Communication

Thomas Hayden, director of Stanford University’s graduate program in environmental communication.

There has never been more, better quality science journalism and communication produced than there is today, and the work of connecting the practice and insights of science to diverse audiences has never been more important. And yet the field itself and the careers of individual science communicators have never been more under threat. This talk will address this fundamental disconnect at the heart of science communication and highlight the importance of practitioners supporting practitioners in defending its golden age.

Sarah GustavusKeynote #2: Why Science Communicators Need Solutions Journalism

Sarah Gustavus, Mountain West Regional Manager with Solutions Journalism Network.

Gustavus will explain why journalists should move beyond just reporting the problems facing society to covering the whole story, including where and how people are making headway against the problems. She’ll give tips on how to do solutions journalism, explain what counts as evidence in a solutions story and share examples of solutions reporting on science.


  • New Models of Science Communication As traditional funding models decline, can science communication hang on, or even thrive? Moderator: Melissa Gaskill. Panelists: Kiah Collier, Texas Tribune; Brendan Gibbons, Rivard Report; Keith Campbell, Dallas Morning News.
  • Using Improv to Sharpen Science Communication Skills (an interactive workshop) Austin’s own Nichole Bennett guides you through some of her signature STEMprov activities to inspire you to think about communicating science in a whole new way. Moderator/Speaker: Nichole Bennett, STEMprov.
  • Bringing Science to the People Science communication is much more than crafting stories in words, sounds and images and then casting them out into the world like messages in bottles. Meet local communicators engaging “the public” face-to-face in all its weird, messy glory.  Moderator: Marc Airhart, Univ. of Texas at Austin; Panelists: Monika Maeckle, Texas Butterfly Ranch; Pamela Owen, Texas Memorial Museum; Audrey Stewart, Animal Facts Club.
  • Expanding Your SciComm Toolkit Communicate science and technology to millennials; discover the key details in the tangled forest of a scientific paper, and tell stories orally. Moderator: Viviane Callier, freelancer. Panelists: Mickey Delp, Dadageek; Thomas Hayden, Stanford University; Bonnie Petrie, Texas Public Radio.

Roundtable Discussions: Small group conversations on participant-chosen themes such as: “Network locally: How to grow your sci comm group from the ground up,” “Getting Your Book Published”, “Journalism vs. Content”, “Walking the Line Between Activism and Journalism”, “Are Embargoes a Good Idea?”, “Communicating Climate Science in the Post-Fact Era.”