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Virtual conference welcomes four keynote speakers

SciComm 2022: Sharing Science in a Polarized World will be held online from August 17-19, 2022. 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 Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, the conference will be primarily run on Zoom with a few in-person networking activities.

SciComm features four keynote speakers. The conference begins with four workshops, followed by a panel and keynote for all registered participants on Aug. 17. For the most up-to-date information on these events, click here. A keynote will kick off each of the morning sessions on Thursday and Friday, and the fourth will welcome participants to the Thursday afternoon events. Workshops are designed to be full learning experiences – please plan to be on time and stay for the entire workshop.

In addition to the keynote speeches, the conference will feature concurrent talks and sessions by featured speakers and presenters 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 will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT on Thursday and Friday. Other events include the Science Slam and Film Festival awards ceremony on Thursday night and virtual networking featuring SciComm Bingo. In-person events include the Science Slam watch party at Happy Raven Bar and Friday afternoon panel and closing reception at Turbine Flats in Lincoln.

Registration is open, and presentation titles and abstracts for live talk proposals must be submitted by July 15. For more information, visit

The complete schedule of events will be updated below as details are finalized. Follow the SciComm Twitter and Instagram accounts for more updates.


  • The Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education and the NebraskaSCIENCE Program of Excellence;
  • the College of Engineering;
  • the Office of Research and Economic Development;
  • the School of Biological Sciences;
  • and the University of Nebraska State Museum.





Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers for the 2022 conference include: Raychelle Burks, Emily Calandrelli, Corey Gray and Darrion Nguyen.

Raychelle Burks

Raychelle Burks

Raychelle Burks

After working in a crime lab, Dr. Burks returned to academia, teaching, and forensic science research. An analytical chemist, she enjoys the challenge developing detection methods for a wide-variety of compounds. Her research team is focused on the development of colorimetric and luminescent sensor arrays for the detection of analytes of mainly forensic and national security interests with accompanying image and chemometric analysis. To maximize the portability of their analytical systems, Dr. Burks' team uses laptops, tablets, and smartphones for image collection and data processing. Beyond forensics and national security, there are a variety of fields where low cost and reliable rapid screening methods are needed. Dr. Burks collaborates with colleagues in a variety of fields in furtherance to provide application-specific sensing systems employing portable, imaging-based detection. Dr. Burks is a popular science communicator, appearing on TV, in podcasts, at large genre cons such as DragonCon and GeekGirlCon, in addition to writing a science-meets-true crime column called “Trace Analysis” for Chemistry World. She is a member of a number of local, national, and international committees, task forces, and projects focused on social justice and STEM.

Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli is an MIT-engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s the Host and Co-Executive Producer of Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix, she's featured as a correspondent on Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World and an Executive Producer and host of FOX's Xploration Outer Space. Emily is the author of the picture book Reach for the Stars, the science experiment book Stay Curious and Keep Exploring, and the science chapter book series, the Ada Lace Adventures. The third book in the series was launched to the International Space Station through the Story Time from Space program. Emily is also a professional speaker who has spoken at venues like Google, Pixar, MIT, Texas Instruments, CERN, and dozens of K-12 schools and Universities around the country. She focuses her talks on the topics of science communication, space exploration, and women in STEM. Her 3 TEDx talks are available on YouTube. Emily's First TEDx Talk Emily's educational background is in engineering and policy. At West Virginia University she received bachelors in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. While at WVU she was awarded the Goldwater scholarship for research and Truman scholarship for policy work. She received her master's from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as Technology and Policy.

Corey Gray

Corey Gray

Corey Gray

Corey Gray is the Senior Operations Specialist at the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Hanford Observatory, working for Caltech. He is part of the group of researchers that confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, marking a major discovery for the fields of physics and astronomy. He now manages the operator team for the detector in Washington that discovered the existence of gravitational waves produced by two colliding black holes. The finding, announced in 2016, supports Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and is considered one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the century. Gray is a member of the team whose founders were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2017. He is also a science educator through the LIGO Education & Public Outreach Team. Gray is a member of the Siksika Nation (Northern Blackfoot) of Alberta, Canada.

Darrion Nguyen

Darrion Nguyen

Darrion Nguyen

Darrion Nguyen is the face and creator of Lab Shenanigans - a brand that makes fun, easily digestible science content. As a science influencer, he uses his background in theatre and biochemistry, to create relatable and educational science content for students, scientists, and everyone in between. Darrion is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Previously, Darrion worked as a research technician, where he often found himself in the lab working late into the night. Oftentimes, he’d mesh late nights into creative sessions, where he'd make relatable science and research videos under the pseudonym, “Lab Shenanigans.” With a staggering 700,000 followers across TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Darrion is making waves as a global STEM influencer and educator. Under his Lab Shenanigans account, he has made over a hundred videos that garnered over 15 million likes. By combining popular memes and concepts from biochemistry, Darrion seeks to make science accessible, propel STEM communication, and empower people to learn science. Named the “Bill Nye of millennials,” this research technician is breaking the mold from within the lab.

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.

Wednesday, August 17

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Workshop 1: Dione Rossiter, inclusive science communication (Zoom meeting room)
12:45-2:45 p.m.: Workshop 2: Jacqueline Goldstein of MIT Communication Lab, inclusive peer coaching (Zoom meeting room)
1-2:30 p.m.: Workshop 3: Disan Davis of RockEDU, democratizing science through wonder and awe (Zoom meeting room)
3-5 p.m.: Workshop 4: Beth Malow of Braver Angels, depolarizing skills for science communication (Zoom meeting room)
5:30-6:45 p.m. Welcome and Panel 1: Community Engaged Science (Zoom Webinar)
7-8 p.m. Keynote Speaker 1: Darrion Nguyen (Zoom Webinar)

Thursday, August 18

10 a.m. Keynote Speaker 2: Raychelle Burks (Zoom webinar)
11-11:30 a.m. Featured Speakers, Sessions 1 and 2 (two concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
11:35 a.m.-12:10 p.m. 15-minute Oral Presentations, Sessions 1 and 2 (two concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
12:30-1 p.m. Featured Speakers, Sessions 3 and 4 (two concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
1:05-1:40 p.m. 15-minute Oral Presentations, Sessions 3 and 4 (two concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
2-3 p.m. Keynote Speaker 3: Emily Calandrelli (Zoom Webinar)
3:15-4 p.m. Panel 2 (Zoom Webinar)
4:45-5:30 p.m. Online Networking Activity (Zoom meeting room)
6-7 p.m. In-Person Networking Activity
7-9 p.m. Science Slam and Announcement of Film Festival winners (Skype and in person)

Friday, August 19

10 a.m. Keynote Speaker 4: Corey Gray (Zoom Webinar)
11-11:30 a.m. Featured Speakers, Sessions 5 and 6 (two concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
11:35 a.m.-12:10 p.m. 15-minute Oral Presentations, Sessions 5 and 6 (two concurrent sessions, Zoom meeting rooms)
12:15-12:30 p.m. Closing Remarks (Zoom meeting room)
2-3 p.m. In-Person only: Panel 3
3:15-4 p.m. In-Person only: Closing Reception

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.