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The Scientist Next Door – BETHA 2020

Project Abstract

It is imperative that universities translate scientific expertise into accessible language for a broad audience in a way that creates lasting compelling and personal connections to the research and humanizes the process of science. This project seeks to strengthen the science storytelling capacity within the Ohio State research community via professional development, live performance, video development and public outreach initiatives. Through these activities, this project will significantly benefit participating researchers as well as the general public. This project has the potential to have a substantial ongoing impact by laying further integrating science storytelling into existing university infrastructure and the Columbus community.

Project Activities

  • Storytelling with The Story Collider
  • Science & Comedy with Shadowbox Live
  • Behind the scenes at Ohio State


Virtual Field Trips to The Ohio State University

As part of this continuing effort, the BETHA team committed to creating twelve three- to five-minute videos filmed using 360° video technology showcasing Ohio State researchers in compelling laboratory and field research sites. These experiences offer an in-depth look at the environments Ohio State researchers work in on a daily basis, including some that are rarely seen and unavailable to the public. They were created by Kira Harris, Kasey Krok, Daniel Hamilton, and Adelyn Arens using video, photos, and data collected by field researchers. Field researchers were instrumental in providing guidance so that tours genuinely capture the landscape and research conducted there. Claire Mercer, Pam Theodotou, and Jason Cervenec also contributed to the tours.

Take a look!


Storytelling with The Story Collider

In October, with funding from BETHA, we brought The Story Collider (https://www.storycollider.org/ ) to The Ohio State University. The Story Collider has a powerful approach to science engagement. They combine expertise from producing live shows around the world, with insight from psychology and neuroscience research about the effect of storytelling, and focus it all on true, personal stories about science.

This virtual half-day storytelling workshop was not about communications strategies or messaging broadly, but specifically focused on developing personal storytelling ability. The Story Collider team introduced themes of leadership and intellectual humility, as well as the science of science storytelling. The goal was to bolster the ability to employ narrative in an individual's work.

Three storytellers were chosen from this workshop to work with experts from The Story Collider to perfect their personal stories...

  • Courtney Price - Education & Outreach Specialist, Center for Applied Plant Sciences & Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center
  • Theodore Chao - Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Cynthia Canan - Lecturer, College of Pharmacy

In November, they presented their efforts during a virtual show put on by The Story Collider via their CrowdCast channel:

                  "Working with Story Collider felt like a Master Class in crafting, honing, and telling a story that encapsulates why I’m so passionate about researching how kids learn math. The Story Collider team of Maryam, Katie, and Erin really listened to the many emotions and memories that came up, helped me hone my story, focus on what actually connected, and walked me through the experience of telling and retelling my story so it felt natural. I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling, but never really understood the importance of telling stories based on my own work. I loved working with Story Collider!"

               - Theodore Chao


Science & Comedy with Shadowbox Live

Coming soon


Behind the scenes at Ohio State

Coming soon