ASAS Graduate Student Symposium: Communication in Animal Science
By: Lauren Soranno
On July 10th, the ASAS Graduate Student Symposium consisted of many informative presentations on how to communicate more effectively in the scientific community. Dr. Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe, the CEO of ASAS, began the discussion by describing specific ways to articulate information to receive more attention and successfully relay key concepts to the audience. Her main idea, as well as many of the other speakers following her, was it is critical to know who comprises the audience. People do trust scientists, they only reject science when it conflicts with a deeply held view. Dr. Wulster-Radcliffe explained that by figuring out the correct way to frame an argument without reaching the emotional side of individuals, a scientist can build trust and rapport with the audience to eventually improve retention. Dr. Shane Gadberry, a professor at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, continued the discussion on effectively communicating information, but focused more specifically on relaying information through text. Reemphasizing Dr. Wulster-Radcliffe’s point, Dr. Gadberry explained that transitioning from word-for-word to thought-for-thought translation by defining unfamiliar terms and using simpler terms is important to reach various audiences. Knowing who the audience is and relaying relevant, requested information is critical when trying to communicate. Dr. Deb Hamernik, the associate dean of agricultural research division at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, persisted to explain the importance knowing who the audience is, being simple and clear, and demonstrating shared values to establish trust. Dr. Hamernik added in the significance of being confident, positive, and concise when communicating. She delved into the topic of communicating animal science to policy makers suggesting it is slightly different as it is necessary to have coalitions/alliances to amplify the message and have a powerful impact. Dr. James Sartin, the outgoing editor in chief of the Journal of Animal Science, concluded the symposium by discussing how to outline a paper as well as the submission process to a journal. He described a list of complaints from reviewers to give insight as to what a paper worth publishing would entail. Within his presentation, Dr. Sartin also stressed the significance of knowing who the audience is to be able to attract attention to the paper. For example, while one wording of a title may appeal to some individuals, it may not appeal to other individuals. Overall, the ASAS Graduate Student Symposium provided insightful suggestions on how to communicate relevant information more effectively to a target audience.