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Communicating Your Research

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Alda Center for Communicating Science

Alda Center Looking to enhance your ability to talk about your research to anyone? The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science offers a series of 1-credit graduate-level modules on their innovative communication techniques for connecting with an audience. Interested participants are recommended to begin with one of the following courses:

  • JRN 501 Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message. Students learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters, in terms non-scientists can understand. Practice finding common ground with listeners and speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences. Includes a video interview with a journalist.
  • JRN 503 Communicating Science: Improvisation for Scientists. This innovative course uses improvisational theater techniques to help students communicate more directly and responsively. It’s not about acting; it’s about connecting with an audience.

A limited number of seats are reserved in most Alda Center courses for postdocs to enroll for free as an auditor. Postdocs may only sign up for one class per semester, and must sign up during course registration each semester by contacting the  Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Only two seats per section are available on a first come, first served basis. Postdoc enrollment typically opens mid semester for the next semester's courses. Postdoc enrollment is available in:

  • JRN 501 Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message
  • JRN 502 Communicating Science: Writing To Be Understood
  • JRN 503 Communicating Science: Improvisation for Scientists
  • JRN 508 Communicating Science: Engaging Key Audiences
  • JRN 509 Communicating Science: Presenting Science Unplugged
  • JRN 512 Video Storytelling for Scientists

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Grant & Proposal Writing

Every semester, our Grant Writing Workshop offers meaningful orientation to find and win a grant or fellowship suitable for your own research needs. By participating in this workshop, you will find the right funding for your research needs, practice exercises to help you distill your message to communicate to non-specialist grant reviewers, and produce a one-page draft of your research project. All postdocs are welcome.

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SBU Postdoc Spotlight

Spotlight BannerStony Brook's Postdoc Spotlight is an opportunity for postdocs to hone their communication skills by presenting their research for a general audience in only five minutes. These bitesized talks provide an exciting snapshot of postdoctoral research for our campus community, drawing a full house from across campus. Postdoc speakers receive intensive coaching on their talks from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, providing them with tools for talking about their research with any audience. Prizes are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place talks. The Postdoc Spotlight is held annually during the Fall semester. 

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Advanced Certificate in Health Communications

This 18-credit program is designed to prepare public health workers, health professionals, journalists, and other communications professionals to communicate health-related issues to the public directly or through the press. The certificate is offered jointly by the Alda center and the Program in Public Health and the School of Journalism.

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Graduate-Level Writing

WRT 621: Graduate-Level Writing. The Program in Writing and Rhetoric will offer a course each semester, WRT 621, Graduate-Level Writing, designed for students in all disciplines.  The course will be a workshop that allows the students to work on whatever writing they are currently doing in their graduate programs, whether course papers, lab reports, reviews of research, publishable articles, or theses. The students for the course will be from all disciplines and they will learn from each other as well as from the instructor.  The course will concern itself with all the fundamentals of writing, from considerations of grammar and punctuation, to rhetorical considerations of audience, evidence, inference-drawing, sentence and paragraph construction, and organization.

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JRN 502: Communicating Science: Writing to Be Understood. This course is offered by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, and focuses on writing strategies. Students develop their ability to write about science or health for a public audience without “dumbing down” their material. The course focuses on such forms as letters to the editor, blogs and op-edits. See the course schedule for more information.

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