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From the College of Natural Sciences

Talking Shop

Dear Students, 

A few weeks ago, I was in Russia for a scientific conference. While it was a chance to visit with some research collaborators, as well as see a bit of Moscow, most of my time was spent in a hotel conference room listening to talks. The meeting was on organic electronics and covered topics ranging from solar cells to LED lighting. I learned a lot (and I hope people learned something about my group's research) thanks to these presentations and discussions. It is a good reminder of the importance of developing skills for communicating to scientists and non-scientists alike. 

Being at the University offers students many chances to develop and hone these skills. UT Sciences Toastmasters helps people conquer their fears of public speaking about science. There are student speech consultants at the Sanger Learning Center who can help you with your public speaking skills, too. UT also has the Texas Student Research Showdown, which challenges you to explain why your research is relevant, and Science in Plain English, which tests your ability to describe your research to non-academics in three minutes. While it's too late to sign on to participate in either contest this year, you can review videos and attend Wednesday's Science in Plain English event to get a sense for how winning researchers communicate. 

What starts here changes the world. But it doesn't if you can't communicate the ideas to anyone else. So take the time to actively pick up and practice these skills. 

Best, 

Dr. Vanden Bout 

P.S. Did you see this great article on must-know campus resources for undergraduate research? 

P.P.S. Did you see this cool study that came out of the Jackson School on the voice box from a 66-million-year-old bird?

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Thursday, 02 December 2021

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