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Science Communication Initiative

Woman standing behind a table with a 'Science Communication' sign on it.
Woman giving a lecture.
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We R Science Communication

Rutgers has a long history of being at the forefront of research, teaching, and the practice of science, health, risk, and environmental communication. Bringing these together under the umbrella term "science communication," the goal of the Rutgers Science Communication Initiative is to enhance the effectiveness, coordination, and visibility of Rutgers efforts in education, research, and outreach to:

To achieve these goals, the Initiative and our affiliates offer the following opportunities:




Meet an RU Science Communicator

Headshot of Nicholas Ponzio.

Nicholas Ponzio, Ph.D.

I teach and perform research in immunology at Rutgers. I've always tried to present concepts, information and data using ways that get and keep audience attention and are also accurate and understandable.

After years of listening to student presentations, I concluded that many students don't present in ways that are fully understandable to their audiences or relate the significance of the cutting-edge research they do. After a sabbatical at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, I developed a course, Communicating Science, to help our Ph.D. trainees improve their communication skills. I recruited faculty from several schools of Rutgers to help develop and teach this course. It has been a huge success since its debut in 2017 as students learn to communicate their science accurately, effectively and understandably to diverse audiences.

We have spun off two new science communication courses for Masters students and also developed a workshop series for postdocs and faculty. Following the Alda Center method, we incorporate improvisation into our courses and workshops, an element that teaches participants to be aware of their audiences and view them as partners in their presentations.

Other outcomes for me have been interacting with like-minded colleagues and creating the Science Communication Initiative, which bodes well for the future of our science communication efforts at Rutgers University.

Upcoming Events

  1. Sept: Rutgers University Innovating Science Communication Conference (details to be announced)

Improv to Improve Workshops Now Available for Booking!

Want to improve science communication skills for your department or group? Spend some time with us and we'll teach you how to communicate science and research accurately, effectively and understandably to diverse audiences. Led by co-directors Nicholas M. Ponzio (Rutgers New Jersey Medical School) and David Dannenfelser (Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts), the Improv to Improve workshop series teaches how to:

  • identify the essential message that defines your research
  • recognize the diverse audiences you speak to about your research
  • engage your audience and tell them why they should care about your research
  • speak clearly and vividly in language your audience will understand

Please contact Nicholas M. Ponzio at for more information.