Good Science Needs Good Communication

COMPASS is an organization that helps scientists effectively share their knowledge in the public discourse and decision-making. It provides practical support for scientists to engage without compromising the accuracy of their science.

The Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) has partnered with COMPASS to help Penn State faculty, researchers, and graduate students to better share their discoveries and results with the public, journalists, policymakers, and beyond.

COMPASS brings together expert facilitators and media professionals who train researchers on how the best ways to make their work accessible to larger audiences.

In 2017, IEE and COMPASS have developed four events for Penn Staters:

  1. Graduate Student Workshop
  2. Plenary
  3. Faculty Workshop

All events will take place between October 4–6, 2017.


Graduate Student Workshop

  • Date: October 4, 2017
  • Time: Noon–2:30 p.m.
  • Location: 233 HUB-Robeson Center

Penn State graduate students are invited to attend a science communications workshop on October 4. Learn how to make your research accessible to the media, policymakers, and the public.

Learn how to become part of the conversation, including word choice, narrow/broad focuses, being one small part of a larger topic. This hands-on workshop will offer a comprehensive walk-through of COMPASS's most fundamental communication tool.

There is no cost to attend, and registration is limited to the first fifty. Lunch will be provided.


Interested graduate students can register on the Graduate Student Registration page.


  • Date: October 4, 2017
  • Time: 4–6 p.m.
  • Location: Foster Auditorium in Paterno Library

Attend a plenary panel with invited science and research journalists who will share their experiences and stories with research in the media. Afterwards, the panel will open up for a question-and-answer session.


If you are interested, please RSVP through the Plenary Registration page.

Faculty Workshop

  • Date: October 5–6
  • Time: All day on Thursday (Oct 5) and 8-noon on Friday (Oct 6)
  • Location: The Penn Stater

Twenty faculty members will be invited to work with COMPASS facilitators and media professionals on how to expand their research's reach. This year's theme is focused on health and the environment. Space is limited.


If you are interested in being on the list of potential invitees, please fill out the Faculty Workshop Registration page.

Invited Journalists and Media Professionals

The following individuals have been invited to the COMPASS events but have yet to be confirmed.

Jon Hamilton from NPR

Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.

Christopher Joyce from NPR

Christopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Mark Fischetti from Scientific American

Mark Fischetti is a senior editor at Scientific American. He has written freelance articles for the New York Times, Smithsonian, Fast Company, and many others.

Amanda Paulson from Christian Science Monitor

Amanda Paulson, writer (Boulder, Colo.), has been a staff writer for the Monitor since 2000. She has reported on education reform, immigration, agriculture, and natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the Boulder floods, wildfires, and the Sago Mine disaster.

Liz Grossman, Freelance journalist

Liz Grossman is a journalist and writer specializing in environmental and science issues. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Scientific American, National Geographic News, Yale e360,  Environmental Health Perspectives, Environmental Health News, The Intercept, and more.