Working at the intersection of science and politics has given me unique insights into the many challenges our community faces – and how we can overcome them. Usually, policy-focused science communication focuses on getting researchers "out there" in the hopes that they’ll be able to connect with a general public. But our tried-and-true strategies are paying fewer and fewer dividends in an era of fragmented media and polarized politics. That's why successful science communication campaigns also engage allies, including people who rely on scientific research to do their jobs as well as groups that are pushing for the same kind of policy change we want, even if they're doing so for different reasons.
We also know that scientists who speak up sometimes find themselves in the ideological crosshairs. I know how to help scientists deal with politicized reactions on their research, both on climate change and other issues. At the same time, researchers can find that years of work have led them to become THE go-to expert on an important topic in the news, whether it's an Ebola outbreak or a nuclear meltdown. When that happens, it's often time to call in some outside help to handle the crush of public requests.
And, of course, science communication can - and should! - be fun, enjoyable and engaging. As a consultant, I want to help scientists and institutions find the most effective, rewarding work they can be doing. As an outsider, I can also provide a valuable, neutral voice to help organizations through periods of change.
Presenting on science communication at a National Academy of Sciences meeting
Talking to physics students at Ohio University about climate change and the Drake Equation
Working with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at the DC March for Science
Co-authored a guide for scientists on facing scrutiny about their work
Authored an analysis of cable news coverage of climate science
Public Engagement Strategy
Research Writing and Editing
Delivering for clients means producing results quickly, but it also means having a long-term vision for what researchers and their organization need. I never sacrifice accuracy for attention or credibility for securing cheap political points. For scientists, engaging in public policy debates means being hyper-aware of how their message will be received, both by their scientific peers and their intended audiences. And it means succeeding over the long haul to retain and build the remarkable level of trust researchers enjoy in society.
When scientists speak out, some politicians try to intimidate us into silence. It’s deeply troubling to find oneself subjected to that kind of harassment, of course, but I know that Aaron always has my back – and the backs of my peers. When Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli falsely accused me of fraud, Aaron worked tirelessly with me to correct the record. Ultimately, we were able to beat back Cuccinelli’s harassment campaign, not only in the press, but also in the courts. Scientists are fortunate to have allies like Aaron who are committed to helping us defend our work and helping us communicate what we do know to our fellow citizens.
Aaron has been great to work with over the last several years. He’s a skilled writer, editor, and interviewer who communicates nuances accurately in plain language and teaches others to do the same. I trust him to always get the message right without ever sacrificing the facts.”