About STS
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Our 2016 Sponsors

Chemical Heritage Foundation

Penn Medicine

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Drexel University Department of Physics

FAQ for Attendees
What is STS?

Start Talking Science is an annual, free event, open to the general public, which aims to increase public interest in cutting-edge, local research and foster insightful conversations between Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) researchers from different fields.

Who are the presenters?

STS presenters are STEM researchers from the Philadelphia area investigating a variety of topics. Astrophysicists, microbiologists, chemists, science educators, biomedical researchers, and neuroscientists are just a few of the different kinds of researchers who have presented posters at the event. They also represent a range of stages in their careers, from undergraduates to graduate students to industry researchers and professors. We even had our first high school presenter in 2016!

Who should attend STS?

Anyone who has an interest in science or is interested in pursuing a career in science would find value in attending. This is a great opportunity to talk with local researchers and scientists from a variety of fields.

What is the format of the event?

The event is about 3 hours long and is held in Philadelphia on a weekday evening in the late summer or early fall. The venue has traditionally had a science theme, like the Academy of Natural Sciences or the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Researchers set up science-themed posters in a large space while attendees circulate the space to view the posters and talk to any researcher they wish. Light refreshments are also provided.

Science wasn't my strong area in school...will I still be able to communicate with the researchers?

For sure! Another goal of STS, besides sharing awesome local research with the public, is to improve the communication skills of researchers. It is important that they can explain their work and its value to a variety of audiences; this can help them gain new perspectives, possibly leading to new avenues of research. The presenters at STS are more than willing to answer any questions you may have.

How did STS start?

STS was born out of an idea sparked during a dinner conversation between STEM professionals. Although everyone at the table was a trained scientist, the fact that they were in different fields made it difficult for them to talk to each other about their work! A small group of researchers and scientists got together, and their passion for science communication led to the first STS event in 2014.

I'm doing STEM research...can I present at STS?

Of course! Please contact the organizers through email at info@StartTalkingScience.com to express your interest and get plugged in. Typically, poster abstracts for the current year are invited in the spring and accepted through early summer.

I'm not involved in any kind of STEM research but I am passionate about science communication and/or education...is there anything I can do?

Yes! We invite volunteers to help in a variety of areas, including social media, advertising, fundraising, logistics, and setup on the day of the event. We are specifically looking for communicators and scientists to help with abstract and presentation reviews. If you're interested in getting involved, or have a great idea for how we can improve STS, please let us know at info@StartTalkingScience.com!

Where can I find out more about STS?

Check out our website at StartTalkingScience.com. You can also find us on Facebook (/StartTalkingScience) and Twitter (@StartTalkingSci).

FAQ for Presenters
Who are the presenters?

Academics and professionals doing research in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

What are the presentations like?

Presentations at STS are primarily poster presentations, though additional media are encouraged.

Who might be in the audience?

Expect a diverse audience with regards to age and level of scientific literacy. Presenters will have the opportunity to speak with other professionals and scientists, though this includes those whose primary interests may lie in fields outside their own.

Why such a diverse audience?

Discussing your research with differently-minded researchers and science-literate non-professionals may help to shine a unique light on your work, stimulating fresh and novel approaches to long-standing hurdles or recent challenges.

I have my own ways of getting fresh and novel approaches; why do I need STS?

STS hopes to improve the communication skills of presenters. This is important because research sponsors and other scientists who may decide the trajectory of your own research could have different perspectives on science and research. A researcher needs all the help they can get in communicating their research to a wide audience.

I get it, how is that achieved?

Each presentation undergoes a thorough critique by our Board of Reviewers, which includes educators and professionals in the fields of biology, communication, education, history, computer science, physics, and mathematics, among others. Presenters are given guidance and advice on how to structure their presentations for a general audience -- an audience which may be unfamiliar with technical jargon and overly-complicated descriptions of research methods.

That seems like a complicated process, what are the steps that need to be taken and when?

First, short research summaries must be submitted by the end of May / beginning of June. This should be similar to an abstract for publication, but without field-specific nomenclature or jargon. If your research is accepted, you'll receive a notification via email within a month after your submission. Once this happens, you need to submit a draft poster. Your draft poster will be reviewed at one of the two Communication Workshops near the end of August. Using the advice given to you at the Workshops, you'll make final edits and adjustments to your poster, and submit a final draft to the STS Board a few weeks before the event. Note that STS does not provide poster printing services. You will have to make sure that your poster is printed and ready by the day of the event.

How should I write my summary...is there a special format?

Write for the general public and use non-technical language. The only requirements are to include your title, author list, and affiliations. Summaries should be limited to 300 words and should consist of one paragraph.

Is my submission private?

If your research is accepted, your name, affiliation, and poster summary may be used in promotions on social media, in advertisements, and on STS website. By submitting your summary, you accept these conditions. (If you wish to opt out of granting STS these permissions, please include this in your initial summary submission email.)

Are there any requirements/guidelines for the poster?

The same as for the extended summary submission: write for the general public and use non-technical language, making sure to include your title, author list, and affiliations. The only difference is that posters must be 36" x 42" and in PDF format.

Is there any fee to submit a poster or attend the Communication Workshops?

No, there is no fee. The event is absolutely free, thanks to our generous sponsors.

Since everything is free, what's expected of the presenters?

We expect the presenters to use this opportunity to share their research experiences and engage with the public and other STEM professionals. There is an optional survey after the event, though, which helps us to improve STS each year.

Is there a dress code?

There is no dress code. The atmosphere is meant to be relaxed: communicating your research to the public is the most important thing.

How can I prepare for the event?

Bring your smile and be ready to share your experience.