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Webinar Science and Life

Selling without selling out: How to communicate your science

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Selling without selling out: How to communicate your science

Recorded 29 May 2019


Science is relevant to every person—it is just that many people don’t realize it. The volume and complexity of modern science, and the speed at which nonsense (nonscience) is transmitted, make the dissemination of accurate scientific concepts a challenge. Add fake science to the mix and one can understand why the public is confused. This confusion can have dire consequences—mistrust of vaccinations resulting from discredited and retracted scientific publications has caused unnecessary suffering and thousands of deaths, while misrepresentation of climate science has devalued the impact of global warming and its perilous implications. The most attention-grabbing headlines in the media are often about scientists who have dubious motives or have committed ethical atrocities—whether it’s DNA editing of humans, a wholly unscientific chocolate diet, or debunked cold nuclear fusion. To counter such misinformation, scientists need to take the initiative and proactively communicate their science in an accurate and understandable manner. This webinar provides guidance on how to best communicate science to your peers and the public. Stand up and tell the world about what you do. Help everyone understand how science makes society better.

Speaker bios

Laura Lindenfeld, Ph.D.

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
Stony Brook, NY

Dr. Lindenfeld is executive director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and interim dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis. As the Alda Center’s executive director, she oversees a dynamic organization that has trained over 12,000 scientists worldwide and introduced over 40,000 to the Alda Method. The center provides international leadership in conducting and connecting research and practice to advance clear, vivid science and medical communication. As a communication researcher, her work draws inspiration from the idea that we can make better, more informed decisions about how we shape our collective future. She is passionate about supporting scientists to communicate their work in more direct and engaging ways. Her work focuses on how we can advance meaningful, productive interactions with communities, stakeholders, and decision-makers by strengthening linkages between knowledge and action. Dr. Lindenfeld’s work has appeared in a range of journals, including Science Communication, Ecology and Society, Environmental Communication, Sustainability Science, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Food and Foodways. She coauthored the book Feasting Our Eyes: Food Films and Cultural Identity in the United States (2016) with Fabio Parasecoli.

Alexia Youknovsky

Agent Majeur
Paris, France

Ms. Youknovsky is founder and CEO of Agent Majeur, a science communication agency based in Paris, France. Eleven years ago, she had the foresight to create a company providing specific communication services for stakeholders in research and innovation. A chemical engineer by training, with experience in both research and consulting, she identified with the constant pressure on scientists to publicize their activities, seek out funding, forge partnerships, and invest in public outreach. Now, she leads a team of science communication professionals with the objective of helping scientists promote their work through strategic planning, event production, communication training, graphic design, and more.

Matthew S. Savoca, Ph.D.

Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University
Pacific Grove, CA

Dr. Savoca is a postdoctoral researcher at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University. He completed his Ph.D. in ecology at the University of California, Davis, where his research focused on why marine animals mistake plastic debris for prey items. This work received international media attention from venues including NPR, BBC, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He earned a Science & SciLifeLab 2018 Prize for Young Scientists for an essay describing his doctoral work. He currently studies the foraging behavior of baleen whales and their possible interactions with microplastics. Dr. Savoca is also passionate about science communication and maintains an active science blog ( In addition, his popular science writing has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American, and The Washington Post.

Laura Helmuth, Ph.D.

The Washington Post
Washington, DC

Dr. Helmuth is the Health, Science, and Environment Editor for The Washington Post, where she manages a team of a dozen reporters and three editors who cover all fields of research, science funding, health policy, and related subjects. She has been an editor for National Geographic, Slate, Smithsonian, and Science magazines, and a freelance writer or editor for The New York Times, Nautilus, National Wildlife, Stanford Medicine, and other publications. She was president of the National Association of Science Writers from 2016 to 2018 and is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s standing committee on advancing science communication research and practice. She has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley and started her science writing career at the U.C. Santa Cruz Science Communication Program.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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