Skip to main content


SCALE-IT trainees write popular science articles for publication that make research more appealing to mainstream audiences


The University of Tennessee, through a SCALE-IT IGERT initiative, created the Science Communication Center. The SCC, comprised of faculty from the College of Communications and the School of Journalism, provides monthly workshops intended to expand the communications training of science and engineering graduate students. The theme this spring was popular science writing. Participating students worked with science journalism professionals to craft popularly accessible articles about science and research. The process provided the trainees with numerous opportunities to learn and practice skills to achieve clarity and broad audience appeal in their writing. The students received periodic feedback over the course of their development of a polished draft of their popular science articles. The products of these efforts are entertaining and informative articles that will be published in the public realm, targeting journals such as LiveScience, K-12 science magazines, and op-ed columns.

Address Goals

If the goal is to improve the scientific literacy of the general population, then it becomes important for research scientists to learn how to speak to those audiences and, equally important, to learn how to target these readers. This training element achieves those objectives tangibly and directly. The IGERT trainees produced high quality material and now are excited about the process of publishing their articles. Many students commented on the desire to pursue similar outreach tactics in the future with their own research. They also gained valuable and transferable skills that improved the way they choose to communicate science in many venues. A more literate populace begins with more accessible research professionals.