The University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute, Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, and the URI Science and Story Lab launched the SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) to prepare the next generation of science communicators from underrepresented ethnic and racial backgrounds. The ambitious five-year project, supported by a $2.8 million collaborative National Science Foundation grant, will address a significant gap in science communication research and training by centering the motivations, experiences, and priorities of racial and ethnic minority scientists. The SCIP team is developing and testing a novel science communication training curriculum through this one-year fellowship program, which includes the creation of a podcast based on the Fellows’ research.
2024 Class of Fellows Selected
Out of a competitive applicant pool, fourteen Fellows were selected to participate in the second cohort of this innovative science communication fellowship for pre-tenure faculty of color. The 2024 Fellowship will focus on water-related issues, and the cohort includes acclaimed disaster scientists, stormwater engineers, graphic and landscape designers, cell biologists, agrohydrologists, sociologists and more. While Fellows bring a diverse range of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, they all share a strong history of personal commitment to science communication and inclusivity of underrepresented communities. Many are first-generation Americans, immigrants, and/or the first in their family to attend college. Half of the cohort speaks multiple languages, indicating great potential to communicate science to diverse and vulnerable communities.
“I am a firm believer that science should be accessible by all, that there shouldn’t be barriers in how we communicate results which consequently leave people in the dark,” says Dr. Khalid Osman, incoming SCIP Fellow and Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. “I have a direct connection to the effect of poor water infrastructure on poor communities. Where I was growing up, potholes, poor traffic lights, lack of sidewalks, stormwater overflows, and more were common occurrences… Through my education journey, I hold onto this upbringing, in an effort to correct the wrongs of the past and create a bright future for disadvantaged communities. Now my research focuses on creating equitable pathways and frameworks for public services in the very communities that I grew up in.” Science communication and the SCIP Fellowship, he says, is a vital part of that work. “A lifelong goal for my professional pursuits includes uplifting the voices of communities struggling with failing infrastructure. I anticipate the SCIP Fellowship providing me the skills and resources necessary for accomplishing this goal.”meet the fellows
The SciComm Identities Project is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants DRL-2115971 and DRL-2115522. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.