This course will teach advanced communication practices to scientists from the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Morgridge Institute for Research. Participants will use their own scientific research to develop a personal pitch, brief talk, poster and tools for interactive engagement.

The 2019-20 course will run October 10-November 22, 2019. It is a non-credit course.

Information, Schedule & Curriculum

Course Information

Projects will develop in real time throughout the course, with time for testing and refinement with peers and experts. A community of practice will develop through peer-to-peer feedback and formal and informal evaluation. This community of practice model will be the foundation for a train-the-trainer program to support course sustainability.

Participants will have several opportunities to present their work to peers in the class, to faculty in the Discovery Building and at public events.


The course consists of one class meeting plus one science communication lab meeting each week; students can choose between two lab sections. Class meetings will introduce subject matter, techniques, theory, etc., while labs will be used for participants to apply those principles and work to their own projects, with support from instructors and peers. Supplementary support will be available through extra hours at the science communication lab on other days of the week. 

Class meetings: Thursdays, 3:30-5 p.m., Oct. 10-Nov. 21
Labs: Thursdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. or Fridays, 8-10 a.m., Oct. 10-Nov. 22

Additionally, participants will present their communications products in public venues outside of regular class and lab meetings. Potential venues include Saturday Science, Graduate Women in Science Three Minute Thesis ® competition, Wednesday Night at the Lab, Science Expeditions, Discovery Building symposium, daily tea at 3 p.m., etc.


The core components of the curriculum are story elements and structure, visualizing data, and interactive engagement models. Together, these elements teach students to think more effectively about audiences, data and communication for a variety of science communication settings.

Eligibility & Application


The course will accept up to 18 graduate students, dissertators, or postdocs at the Discovery Building who are carrying out research projects independently or as part of a lab group. Applicants with Discovery Building affiliations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Applicants without Discovery Building affiliations may be accepted as space allows. 

  • Participants will be accepted by application only and must have the consent of their graduate advisor or post-doctoral advisor
  • Dissertator status preferred but not required.
  • Participants must commit to attending all course meetings plus appropriate public events. 

arrowView curriculum, schedule & instructor information


Enrollment for the 2019-20 course is closed as of October 3, 2019.


Please email Laura Heisler if you have questions about the application process.


WARF Morgridge Institute Wisconsin Institute for Discovery


Oversight & Advisory Board

  • Jo Handelsman - director, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID)
  • Brad Schwartz - CEO, Morgridge Institute for Research
  • Laura Heisler - director of outreach, WARF & Morgridge Institute for Research
  • Tony Gitter - Morgridge Institute for Research
  • Kevin Ponto - Illuminating Science co-director, WID
  • Deborah Treu - Morgridge Institute for Research