Landscaping Overview of North American Science Communication Fellowship Programs
Nichole Bennett – The University of Texas at Austin. United States
John Besley – Michigan State University United States
Anthony Dudo – The University of Texas at Austin United States
As science communication training programs grow in number and reach, fellowship programs provide arguably some of the most intensive and impactful science communication training experiences available. These programs grant scientists from across multiple disciplines access to authentic science communication experiences in particular contexts (e.g. policy, media, festivals, museums), with the goals of introducing scientists to the career and of improving their science communication self-efficacy. However, little research has focused on understanding the landscape of science communication fellowship programs. We conducted semi-structured interviews of science communication fellowship directors in North America to understand the infrastructure of these programs as well as their impact on their trainees and the communities they reach. This is especially timely as, to date, fellowship programs appear to operate largely in isolation from each other and without clear understandings of what makes them similar and different from other fellowship programs. This lack of self-awareness and interaction among fellowship programs hamstrings the community’s ability to build scale, diversify reach, and identify agreed-upon best practices. Our research aims to provide an exploratory foundation that enables the science communication fellowships community begin understanding itself so it can achieve its full potential.
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