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Science Communications Bootcamp


2023 program information will be announced in the spring.

On May 6, 2022, the Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP) is offering a one-day interactive workshop in which students will learn the fundamentals of effective science communication. It will feature lectures and presentations by Corey S. Powell (former editor of Discover magazine, founder of OpenMind magazine, co-host of the Science Rules podcast), along with expert guests. The format will include interactive exercises, real-time critiques, and a “pitch slam” for presenting story ideas.

The goal of the Bootcamp is to help students get meaningful science stories in front of the widest possible audience – as authors, as communicators, and as expert sources – and give the public better access to smart, accessible, engaging, and meaningful scientific insights. The day will be broken into four sessions, each 90 minutes long, plus a lunch session that will offer opportunities for more informal interactions. The boot camp will include a list of resources and a structure for follow-up development.

2022 registration closed


There is no cost to register or to participate in the program. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Registrants are expected to cover travel expenses, accommodations and incidentals. A limited number of travel scholarships are available.


This program is open to graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early career researchers. First priority will be given to those involved in CMAP. Spots are limited to the first 25 registrants.

Program Schedule

The program will take place May 6, 2022 at the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Rochester, New York.

Check back regularly for updated details.

Moderator and Program Leader

Corey S. Powell, former editor of Discover and American Scientist, founder of OpenMind, co-host of the Science Rules podcast

Guest Speakers

Philip Ball, physics editor, writer, essayist

Lee Billings, writer/editor, Scientific American

Rebecca Crocker, social media expert

Informal mixing time with CMAP scientists, faculty, Corey

  • Welcome: Stephen Dewhurst, Vice Dean for Research
  • Welcome: Wendi Heinzelman, Dean, Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
  • Remarks: G. Collins and R. Jeanloz

What makes a great science news story? What about a great essay, blog post, or feature article? What do they have in common with a review paper or colloquium, and what are the fundamental differences? We will explore these questions with the help of virtual guest speaker Philip Ball – a former physics PhD and editor at Nature, now a leading science journalist and essayist.

  • Activity: reading of three sample stories and group analysis

In your research, you are the expert. When you write, sometimes you are still the expert and sometimes you are the reporter. Here we examine the difference between the two roles and focus on how to build stories around other people’s ideas. We will focus especially on the art of the interview: How to find the right sources, who to trust, how to ask the right questions, how to draw out the right ideas.

  • Activity: real-time interview and critique

Photographer: Eugene Kowaluk

Informal mixing time with Corey and Rebecca and other CMAP Annual Meeting faculty and scientists

Attendees can grab lunch after the tour from 13:10 – 13:30 (20 minutes)

There is a long process from having a great idea to telling a great story. In this session, we will take a close look at all of the essential steps: finding the right outlet, pitching a story, working with an editor, controlling the final produce. We will also look at self-publishing/blogging, book-writing, podcasting, book-writing and other ways to tell your story. With participation by virtual guest speaker Lee Billings.

  • Activity: story-idea pitch slam

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… you are already out there in some form, so you might as well make the most of it! We will pick apart the pros and cons of the different channels, also including YouTube and TikTok (yes, really). Rebecca Crocker will include tips on building your own website and social-media structure.

Rebecca and Corey will discuss distinctive social media strategies.

  • Activity: live media critique and a network-building exercise

How to Register

Registration is now closed.

First priority will be given to CMAP graduate students, post-docs, and early career researchers.

In addition to basic information, the online registration form requires a brief description of your research interests (300 words or less).

Registration deadline: Thursday, April 28, 2022


Contact Natalie Antal, CMAP program administrator, at or (585) 276-4967.

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