Scientist Engagement

The LPI Education and Public Engagement team is pleased to assist planetary scientists in their communication and public engagement activities. The LPI conducts practice and mentoring sessions for students and other early career scientists preparing to present at planetary science conferences. The LPI also conducts scientist workshops to provide insight on meeting audience needs.

2019 LPSC poster presentations
Dr. Kathleen Vander Kaaden with workshop participant
Traveling Exhibits
Tools for Engaging Public Audiences 

Sharing Planetary Science: Planetary Scientist Engagement Sessions

Based on input from planetary scientists and its Education and Public Engagement advisory board, the LPI is conducting short professional development sessions. Sessions include interactive activities and demonstrations to allow participants to share their insights.

Upcoming Events
Sharing Planetary Science: Communicating with Policy Makers

Apr 27, 2021
2 p.m. CDT (3 Eastern/ 2 Central/ 1 Mountain/ 12 Pacific)

LPI’s Sharing Planetary Science seminars are for planetary scientists (including early career scientists and planetary engineers) interested in engaging public audiences. Join us on April 27 to learn how to reach out to and communicate your research and issues effectively with legislators. Experts from AGU’s Public Affairs team will share an overview and tips, and respond to your questions. Registration is free but required.

Handouts from AGU:

Message and Ask for Policymakers
Researching Policymakers
Scicomm Essential Tips and Tools
Creating a One Pager
Watch Your Words

LPI webinar: Sharing Planetary Science: Social Media

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
3:30 – 4:00 p.m. CDT

A popular way to disseminate planetary science to a variety of audiences is through social media. Learn techniques and suggestions for disseminating your science from masters of social media, and discuss institutional policies. Speakers include Courtney O’Connor, NASA Social Media Specialist; Dr. Edgard Rivera-Valentín, LPI Staff Scientist; and Julie Tygielski, LPI Social Media & Communications.

This recording is available online.

Sharing Planetary Science: Writing for the Public

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

An excellent way to share planetary science and exploration with broad audiences is to write a blog or a compelling article for a newsletter or periodical. Learn tips for writing about planetary science for public audiences from Emily Lakdawalla, planetary scientist and science communicator, and Martin Ratcliffe, astronomy educator and science writer.

This recording is available online.
Writing for the Public (PDF)

Sharing Planetary Science: Engaging Audiences with Disabilities

Wednesday, November 4, 2 p.m. CST (3 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. MST, 12 p.m. PST)

Join us to hear about best practices for making planetary science more accessible for functionally and neurologically diverse audiences, and to discuss resources and ways to modify your programs to engage audience members with disabilities. Our presenters include Laura Jean Checki, a Solar System Ambassador and the CEO of Interstellar Inspirations, LLC, with more than 12 years’ experience working with individuals with disabilities and creating Universal Instructional Design educational products; Cassandra Runyon, a planetary scientist and Director of the NASA SC Space Grant Consortium, whose passion is helping to provide access to STEM for all audiences, including those with visible and invisible disabilities; and Michele Daly, the Director of Disability Education at Interstellar Inspirations, LLC and at the Meadowlands Environment Center.

This recording is available online.
Exploring Space through the Senses (PPT)
Working with People with Disabilities (PDF)
Working with Differently-Abled Audiences and Universal Instructional Design (PPT)
Space Science is for Everyone: Creating and Using Accessible Resources in Educational Settings (PDF)

Sharing Planetary Science: De-Jargoning Your Talks

Sept. 17, 2020, 2 pm Central Time

There are many ways to say things. We often default to using jargon, but these words or phrases may be meaningless to your audience; worse, hearing a presentation with jargon may cause your audience to lose interest. Join Dr. Sanlyn Buxner (PSI) and Christine Shupla (LPI) to discuss some ways to identify and avoid jargon.

This recording is available online.
Resources on De-Jargoning Your Talks (PDF)
De-Jargoning Your Talks (PPT)

Engaging Audiences Virtually

June 3, 2020, 1 pm Central Daylight Time

Presenting content virtually is challenging, and it is even more difficult to have authentic dialogue with audiences when the format is online. Join us to discuss strategies to initiate active participation from audiences and to incorporate feedback in a virtual program.
This recording is available online.

Presenting to Culturally Diverse Audiences

April 22, 2020, 3:30 to 5 pm Central Time

It can be challenging to communicate when your audience’s experiences are different from your own. Learn about ways to make culturally relevant connections with diverse audiences, such as partnering with community organizations, checking our own biases, and finding resources to learn more. Panelists include Dr. Christina Richey, Dr. Frances Rivera-Hernandez, and Dr. David Trang.
Resources (PDF)
The recording is available online.

Giving Successful Press Interviews

Learn tips for sharing your science and practice giving interviews with professional science news journalists.
Speakers include:

The recording is available online.

Measuring Your Impact

It's difficult to improve public engagement skills without data; learn how to invite your audience to share their thoughts and get useful data to inform future events.
Measuring Your Impact (PPT)
Measuring Your Impact (PDF)

Using Social Media

A popular way to share your science is using social media. Masters of social media, including Emily Lakdawalla, Edgard Rivera-Valentín, Alex Parker, and Julie Tygielski shared techniques and suggestions for disseminating your science.
Using Social Media (PDF)
The recording is available online.

Addressing Controversial Topics

Recommendations from participating scientists and from the National Center for Science Education, and other resources.
Addressing Controversial Topics (PPT)
Recommendations (PDF)

Common Planetary Misconceptions

Audiences may have mistaken ideas about the size, scale, and characteristics of objects in the solar system, and limited understanding of astronomical and geological time and concepts. Learn common misconceptions and how to address them.
Common Planetary Misconceptions (PPT)

Making Planetary Science Relevant

We connect to audiences by making our content relevant; learn some techniques for making planetary science relevant to different groups.

Making Planetary Science Relevant (PPT)
Relevance Cards (PDF)
Relevancy Worksheet (PDF)

Getting the Audience’s Attention

Public engagement starts with capturing the audience’s attention. We will discuss engagement techniques, from catchy phrases to activities and demonstrations to presentation styles.

Getting the Audience’s Attention (PPT)
Attention Worksheet (DOC)
LPI Resources for Public Engagement in Planetary Science (PDF)

Understanding Audience Goals

Public engagement activities need to be guided by the audience’s own goals and needs and where they intersect the scientist’s goals. We will provide insight into the different goals that different audiences bring to public engagement events.
Understanding Audience Goals (PPT)

Request a Speaker

Scientists and staff of the LPI are available for presentations to schools, civic groups, and other organizations in the Houston region.

Request a Speaker  

Get the solar system in your inbox.

For upcoming Sharing Planetary Science notices, subscribe to Community News.

Join our community