SciComm Social hour: A new way to deliberate outreach

SciComm Social hour: A new way to deliberate outreach

SciComm Social hour: A new way to deliberate outreach

by Maha Cziesielski

This year’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego is pleasantly packed with science communication, policy, journalism and outreach events. There are numerous poster and oral sessions, and a wide range of workshops and lunch events for participants to choose from. In fact, the assortment of science communication related events is so diverse that we at ASLO prepared a specific conference guide for interested participants to have an overview (Interactive Science Communication Field Guide). Of course, ASLO has organized several of events in this mix, with one scheduled for Wednesday evening. But after 5 days of busy schedules and extensive science communication exposure, we wondered: how can we continue the conversation on public engagement and outreach without exhausting people? And how can we provide a venue for people to talk about what they’ve learned in the many other workshops and sessions preceding ours?

On Wednesday February 19th at 6pm University of Delaware professor emeritus Jon Sharp and Hollywood actor turned Sci Comm guru Brian Palermo invite you to join us for a conversation at a local establishment. In this social workshop format, we want to provide an informal setting for participants to discuss science communication, public outreach and engagement strategies. Besides the opportunity to connect with peers over these subjects, we have invited several non-academic professionals with different backgrounds experiences to join us and share their perspectives on outreach initiatives and discuss how we can work to close the gap between science and society. Our first two guests for our #SciComm Social Hour to introduce and welcome are Gerhard Kuska and Misha Body.

Gerhard Kuska obtained his PhD in Marine Policy in 1999. and has since been involved in consulting ocean science policy. He’s worked at the United States Senate, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and at NOAA among others. In 2006, Kuska became associate director of ocean and coastal policy for the White House Council on Environmental Policy under GW Bush. For the past 9 years, he has served as the executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observation System (MARACOOS) and has most recently been appointed vice chair of IOOS association board.

Misha Body is a passionate wildlife biologist who’s been working with zoos, aquariums and museums for over 18 years. Besides taking care of animals, managing teams and departments, Body has spent her career actively engaged in outreach and education initiatives. She is currently a course facilitator at the San Diego Zoo where she teaches graduate students in collaboration with Miami University. Body is also part of the executive leadership development project at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, where she conducts professional development and leadership training.

Including the expertise of science communication advocate Professor Jon Sharp and improvisation and communication expert Brian Palermo (read about Brian’s work here, we are certain to have an informed, lively and well-rounded discussion regarding public outreach. If you are interested in joining our social hour, please contact Maha Cziesielski ( to register in advance

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