The CEC provides opportunities for community engagement, skill-building, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.

There are lots of ways to get involved with the CEC. Check out our reading list below, encourage your students to attend workshops or seminars, involve students from underserved communities in your research experiences, or request a consultation with the CEC for guidance on incorporating outreach and engagement into a research proposal.

Student Experiences

Enhance your involvement in community engagement by taking advantage of the CEC’s recommended courses, contributing to our ongoing projects or blog, or attending community events.

Center members interested in expanding the diversity of students involved in research in their labs may utilize opportunities through the Office of Undergraduate Research. Resources for Faculty Mentors interested in undergraduate researchers in their labs are available.

Graduate and Undergraduate Courses for Spring 2020

Consider the following public science courses when planning for next term. Public science is a vague-ish but exciting term that encompasses all the ways that science could become better by integrating itself more closely with the rest of the world: science communication, citizen science, open science, informal science learning, community-engaged research (to name only the ones prominent here at NC State).

COM 598: Principles of Public Science
Friday 1:30-4:15pm | Jean Goodwin (

This course will help you decide what public science means for you, and how you are going to pursue it. It is the required foundations course for the emerging graduate Minor in Public Science.

Our primary activity as a class will be accomplishing a project that will both advance each individual’s public science competencies and our collective understanding of how to improve the state of public science at NC State and beyond. This year our project is likely to be an internal report for NCSU leadership, and possibly for publication, on the contours of a good graduate education in public science. This will require us to interview public scientists (scientists pursuing careers related to policy, communication, citizen science, advocacy, even professors), interview members of the “publics” these scientists serve, consider some literature on public science and on personal growth, and synthesize our results into a compelling report.

In addition, each student will end the semester with:

  • a personal professional development plan laying out the public science competencies and knowledges you want to have when you graduate, and what you will do to achieve them
  • a statement of personal values, explaining why it is important for you to pursue public science
  • the beginnings of a network of people and resources that will support your continued development
  • an increased ability to recognize and manage some of the ethical tensions inherent in public science

*Note: Many of our classes will be field trips, and depending on the wishes of the group, may reschedule other classes to mutually convenient times.

COM 598 (003)/COM 798 (009) : Science Communication
Tuesday 1:30-4:15pm | Nicole Lee ( and Matt Shipman (

This special topics course focuses on the strategic communication of science with lay audiences. The course will combine theory and practice so students will learn not only how to communicate effectively but also why certain strategies and tactics are appropriate for different situations. Particular attention will be devoted to identifying and understanding audiences, choosing communication channels and outlets, crafting media and messages, and evaluating effectiveness.

BIO 592 (072) : Creative Media Production for Scientists
Monday 4:00-4:50pm, Wednesday 3:00-4:50pm | Adrian Smith (

This course is a practical introduction to science communication through online digital media, with a heavy focus on video. Students will spend the semester working towards producing their own media pieces. We will also survey and discuss current online science communication media practices. Graduate students from all scientific disciplines as well as research-active upper-level undergraduates are welcome to register. No previous video production experience is necessary.

COM 289 : Science Communication and Public Engagement
Tuesday/Thursday 10:15-11:30am | Jean Goodwin (

Communicating complex science is hard enough. It gets even harder when you throw in controversial issues, distrustful audiences, and new media. In this course you’ll learn how to understand and adapt to audiences effectively, how to take appropriate roles in public debates, how to make good use of different media, and how to involve the public in scientific research. Whether you’re a future scientist, engineer, natural resource manager, communication professional or just ordinary citizen, you’ll take away a better understanding of how everyone can work together to make good decisions informed by sound science.

*Note: this course is the required entry course for the new undergraduate minor in Science Communication.

COM 436 : Environmental Communication
Tuesday/Thursday 10:15-11:30am | William Kinsella (

Environmental communication is an area of growing interest within the communication discipline, with both practical and theoretical importance. This course provides an overview of the field’s theoretical approaches, research areas, and practical applications. Topics include:

*Note: this course meets the capstone requirement for the new undergraduate minor in Science Communication.

COM 498 : Disaster Communication
Monday/Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm | David Berube (

This course deals with the challenges confronting communicators during disastrous natural events including: hurricanes and typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, forest fires, mudslides, avalanches and more. The messaging includes efforts toward reducing fatalities, prevention, protection, and recovery efforts and focuses primarily on the new roles played by digital media. We use extensive video adjuncts, read professional articles in the field, and develop protocols for a communication-based response.


For Students




Workshops and conferences throughout the state can be a great way for students to network,
and refine their engagement skills.





Agriculture and Sciences Career Expo
October 3, 2019 | Talley Student Union, NCSU
Join the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from 10am-3 pm to explore different career options and companies.  More than 1000 students are expected to attend and 82 undergraduate, graduate, and Associate’s degree programs will be represented.  For more information and registration, please click here.



2019 Triangle Global Health Consortium Annual Meeting
October 16, 2019 | Durham Convention Center, NC
The Triangle Global Health Consortium Annual Meeting 2019 theme is One Health – Creating our Shared Future: Humans, Animals, and the Environment.  North Carolina brings a wealth of expertise and talent for implementing One Health across a spectrum of global health research, practice, policy, and innovation. This program will provide an opportunity for thought leaders, innovators, policymakers, students, and researchers to share their One Health experience and questions, with the goal of advancing the use of global health and public health tools to achieve sustainable wellbeing for all. The program sessions will include a mix of speakers, panels, workshops, and poster sessions which showcase current One Health best practices and encourage attendees and presenters to engage around key issues impacting human, animal, and environmental health across a spectrum of application areas. For more information and registration questions, click here.


2019 NC Environmental Justice Summit

October 18-19, 2019 | Historic Franklinton Center at Bricks, Whitakers, NC 27891
The NC Environmental Justice Network is hosting the 21st Annual EJ Summit with the theme “Reclaiming Our Power.”  The annual environmental justice summit has been a cornerstone critical to the resilience of our network. It’s an opportunity for us to gather together, exchange knowledge and experience, share our stories, and be refreshed to take on the important, difficult work ahead. We’re celebrating change – where we’ve been and what we’ve done. And we’re celebrating action – the steps that we will take to get us to where we want to go. We choose revolution when we choose to challenge the status quo – when our actions are counter to the systems that oppress us. Click here for the general registration form and here for full information.


Understanding Climate ChangesComSciCon-Triangle: Science communication workshop for graduate students
2020 TBA | Research Triangle Park, NC
Duke, NCSU, and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students in STEM fields are invited to apply for ComSciCon-Triangle a science communication workshop organized by and for graduate students. At this two-day conference, attendees will have the opportunity to develop their science communication skills, network with fellow graduate student leaders passionate about science education and outreach, learn from expert writers and professional science communicators, and produce an original writing for publication. Details regarding next year’s event will be posted, and click here for more information.


Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou in the CRISPR lab on Centennial campus. Photo by Marc Hall

99th Annual Graduate Women in Science Conference: Educating Scientists for Effective Science Outreach
2020 TBA | South Dakota
During the National meeting, scientists from all career stages will have the opportunity to network, share their science and gain first-hand science outreach experience at a local science museum. Click here for more information.

Did not make it to the national meeting? Get involved with the local Graduate Women in Science chapter, GWIS at RTP!

Engagement Opportunities



Have some free time on your hands? Are you interested in getting involved with the CEC?






Get involved with ongoing CEC projects that facilitate interactions between Center scientists and community groups. Beer-Reviewed Science is an informal way to talk about environmental health science over drinks at Raleigh Brewing Company, and our Community Grant Program provides funds and Center mentorship to community groups and nonprofits addressing local environmental health issues.




laptop and coffeeHelp out with our News and Updates. We are happy to have NC State graduate students create content for our blog. Students bring a great perspective to environmental health topics, and can help make scientific issues or research areas more digestible for audiences outside of academia.

See our Pinterest boards to get some ideas!



Attend community meetings. Getting out and engaging with community members provides great insight into what people in North Carolina want to see environmental health research address. Talking to people, and listening to what their concerns and ideas are about environmental health helps drive productive research projects, and provides perspective from some of the people most impacted by our research.

For ideas and upcoming events, contact Katy May.

Organizations & Other Outreach Opportunities




Interested in relating your research to a broader audience, constructing compelling stories about science, or simply becoming a better communicator? There are plenty of opportunities to hone your skills on campus!




Join the Science Communication Graduate Student Organization at NC State University! To be added to the email list, contact Kristi Backe.





Represent the College of Sciences by becoming an NC State Sciences Ambassador! For more information, contact Jamila Simpson.





Serve communities outside of the NC State campus while gaining invaluable experience in a different location with Alternative Spring Break.





Mentor younger, aspiring scientists with The Science House by volunteering for events such as The NC Science Olympiad and the TSH Robotics Program.





Engage the community through citizen science projects, outreach partnerships, and professional development. Learn more about Public Science at NC State.




Other Ongoing Activities

 Community Grants

CHHE’s Community Grant Program provides community-based organizations throughout the state with funds and assistance to address local environmental health issues. As a member of CHHE, you can get involved with our efforts by helping to review proposals, provide assistance, or even serve as a mentor to an organization for the duration of a funding cycle.



Citizen Science

Need a hand (or hundreds) to help out with some of your research? Have an idea for a citizen science project? SciStarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through more than 1,300 recreational activities and citizen science research projects. Their database of citizen science projects enables discovery, organization, and greater participation in citizen science. Plus, check out fellow CHHE member, Rob Dunn’s website to see all the ways he incorporates citizen science into his research!


Beer-Reviewed Science

Join us on the July 23rd at 6pm at Transfer Co. Food Hall in Raleigh to talk environmental health science in a very informal setting. Beer-Reviewed Science is a great, easy way to do community engagement in NC State’s backyard.

Suggested Readings

How can we best communicate science to research funders, government policy makers, and community members? What makes for an engaging dialog where researchers learn from community members and community members gain insights into scientific discoveries and methods? Explore some of these suggested readings for ideas and perspectives.

Dr. Mary Schweitzer speaks to a crowd about her dinosaur research at the Raleigh Museum of art. Photo by Marc Hall


8 Classic Storytelling Techniques for Engaging Presentations, F. Lindsay

Science and Storytelling: The Use of Stories in Science Education, A. Kukaswadia


The NC State Belltower at dusk and night. Photo by Marc Hall


Escape from the ivory tower: A guide to making your science matter (link to NCSU Libraries online resource)

Stand Up for Science, Baron 2010, N. Baron




An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists, H. Bik and M. Goldstein

Making Sense of Uncertainty, Sense about Science


Revisit this page for more readings and share your reflections on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!