no coast, no cost

main website
SciComm Logo Repeated as Banner Graphic

SciComm 2020 moved online as a three-day, free event

Virtual conference welcomed four keynote speakers

SciComm 2020 was held online from August 14-16, 2020. This conference is dedicated to understanding and promoting effective communication of science to diverse audiences – including students of all levels as well as the general public – across all venues. Hosted by UNL's School of Biological Sciences, the conference was run on Zoom by the events staff in the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.

SciComm featured four keynote speakers. The conference began with a keynote for all registered participants at 6 p.m. CDT on Aug. 14, followed by the awards ceremony for the Lightning Talk competition and Film Festival. For the most up-to-date information on the next SciComm event, click here. A keynote kicked off each of the morning sessions on Saturday and Sunday, and the fourth welcomed participants to the Saturday evening event.

In addition to the keynote speeches, the weekend featured concurrent talks and sessions by nationally known experts focused on informal STEM learning; science communication research; K-12 STEM; disciplinary-based education research; science and the media; broader impacts; and communicating controversial science. These sessions took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday and Sunday. Other events included the awards ceremony for the film festival on Friday night and a virtual reception Saturday night featuring SciComm Bingo and live performances marrying the arts and sciences.

“Now that this conference is online and being offered at no cost, our audience can grow and more easily allow scientists, media professionals and educators to build connections, share ideas, and inspire new, innovative, and effective science communication strategies,” said Eileen Hebets, committee chair and professor of biological sciences at Nebraska. “This conference is a great opportunity for advanced students and scientists just entering their careers to build a strong foundation in communication, which can help propel their success for years to come, regardless of their career paths.”

Registration officially closed August 1, and presentation titles and abstracts for live talk proposals were submitted by July 24. For more information, visit

The complete schedule of events is below. Follow the SciComm Twitter and Instagram accounts for updates.


  • The Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education and the NebraskaSCIENCE Program of Excellence;
  • Nebraska's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research;
  • the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Education and Human Sciences, and Engineering;
  • the Agricultural Research Division;
  • Nebraska Biotechnology Center;
  • the departments of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, Entomology, Agronomy and Horticulture, Communication Studies, and Natural Resources;
  • the Office of Research and Economic Development;
  • the schools of Biological Sciences and Natural Resources;
  • Nebraska 4-H;
  • the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts;
  • and the University of Nebraska State Museum;
  • additional support from a National Institute of General Medical Sciences Science Education Partnership Award.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers for the 2020 conference included Raven Baxter, known as Raven the Science Maven; Uché Blackstock of Advancing Health Equity; Andrew Revkin of the Initiative on Communication and Sustainability; and Christopher Volpe of ScienceCounts.

Raven Baxter
Raven Baxter

Raven Baxter

Raven Baxter, also known as Raven the Science Maven, is a science communicator and molecular biologist who works to progress the state of science culture by creating spaces that are inclusive, educational, and real. Raven is an entertaining content creator and musician, often referred to as the “Queen of Science Rap”. She creates STEM-themed music that teaches and empowers both students and professionals in STEM and beyond. Raven speaks internationally to students, educators and leaders about the importance of STEM diversity and innovation in science education. Raven is the founder of STEMbassy, a science advocacy organization that embraces a diverse and accomplished membership of scientists, engineers, and tech professionals that serve the next generation of STEM as leaders and mentors. Currently, she is the Director of Collegiate STEM Initiatives at a STEM Charter School in Buffalo, New York, where she develops outstanding culturally responsive science programs and opportunities for high school students.

Uche Blackstock
Uché Blackstock

Uché Blackstock

Dr. Uché Blackstock is a thought leader and sought-after speaker on health inequities and racism in health care. She is the Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, which partners with healthcare and healthcare-related organizations to address the critical factors contributing to health inequity, through talks, workshops and consulting services. In 2019, Dr. Blackstock was recognized by Forbes magazine as of one of 10 Diversity and Inclusion Trailblazers You Need to Get Familiar With. Her writing has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and STAT News for the Boston Globe. She was formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Faculty Director for Recruitment, Retention and Inclusion in the Office of Diversity Affairs at NYU School of Medicine. She left NYU School of Medicine in December 2019 after almost 10 years on faculty to focus on Advancing Health Equity. Dr. Blackstock received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University.

Andrew Revkin
Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin is founding director of the Initiative on Communication and Sustainability at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. There he is building programs, courses and collaborations bridging gaps between science and society to cut climate risk and spread resilience. Revkin has written on climate change for more than 30 years, reporting from the North Pole to the White House, the Amazon rain forest to the Vatican – mostly for The New York Times. From 2010 to 2016, he built and taught courses in online communication and environmental filmmaking at Pace University. Revkin has written five books, most notably “The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest,” which was made into an award-winning film by HBO, and has won most of the top awards in science journalism, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship and Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. In spare moments, he is a performing songwriter. Follow him on Twitter: @revkin.

Chris Volpe
Chris Volpe

Chris Volpe

Dr. Christopher Volpe is the executive director and a founding board member of ScienceCounts, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting awareness and supporting science. With an academic background in physical chemistry and two decades of private sector experience in marketing and branding, Dr. Volpe is a leading voice in developing data-driven social marketing strategies to foster stronger connections between the scientific community and the general public. Previously, he was the president and co-founder of Prismatic Laser Programs LLC, the nation’s leading provider of STEM-based assembly programs to elementary and middle schools. In his free time, Dr. Volpe is a demonstration pilot of various types of historically significant WW2 aircraft.

Program Information

All webinars with keynote speakers were recorded for on-demand viewing and are posted on the website and in the SciComm YouTube channel.

All times Central.

Friday, August 14, 2020

3:30 p.m. Workshop Linking Literature and Science
6 p.m. Welcome and Keynote Speaker 1: Raven Baxter (Zoom Webinar)
7 p.m. Awards Ceremony for Lightning Talks and Film Festival (Zoom Webinar)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

10 a.m. Keynote Speaker 2: Andrew Revkin (Zoom webinar)
11 a.m.-noon Oral Presentations (three concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
Noon-12:30 Featured Speakers (three concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
12:40-1:30 p.m. Q&A with Recorded Oral Presenters (three concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
6 p.m. Keynote Speaker 3: Uché Blackstock (Zoom Webinar)
7 p.m. Performing Arts Presentations and Networking Activity (Zoom meeting room for 19 years of age and older only)

Sunday, August 16, 2020

10 a.m. Keynote Speaker 4: Chris Volpe (Zoom Webinar)
11 a.m.-noon Oral Presentations (three concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
Noon-12:30 Featured Speakers (three concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
12:40-1:30 p.m. Featured Speaker and Closing Remarks (Zoom meeting room)

Zoom Webinars are designed so that only the host and any designated panelists can share their video, audio and screen. Webinar attendees do not interact with one another, but they have the ability to interact with the moderator and panelists via the Q&A function. Zoom Meeting rooms allow for more interactive sessions with audience participation and the opportunity to break into smaller groups.

For more speaker and programming information, please visit the SciComm website.