COPUS Announces the 2014 Paul Shin Award Winner

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Press contact: Monica Albe, COPUS
mjalbe@berkeley.edu
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 29, 2014

Washington DC -- The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) today announced this year's winner of the third annual Paul Shin Award, honoring the unsung heroes of science communication and engagement.

Paul Shin AwardThe 2014 winner is Dr. Amy Vashlishan Murray, Assistant Professor of Science (in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies) at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.

As a tenure-track science faculty member at Emerson College, one might think that Amy has her hands full: she teaches undergraduates with a focused interest in art and communication while conducting research in neurobiology in the Kaplan lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. But Amy recognizes that she’s uniquely situated -- she’s interfacing with young talent in communication and art AND with cutting edge science. With a seemingly boundless energy, she’s capitalized on her situation to create innovative synergies that enhance the public’s understanding of science. Among her achievements are the founding of the Emerson Science Communication Collaborative and helping to establish the “Ask For Evidence” campaign in the US. Amy explains: “I am driven by the belief that the role and responsibility of the scientist includes anticipating the social impact of development in her field and striving to develop well-informed consumers of scientific information. Initiatives like Ask for Evidence and the Science Communication Collaborative build from this belief by empowering students and members of the public to question the science they encounter in their daily lives and by engaging these stakeholders in communication exchanges with the scientific community.”

Morgan Thompson, PhD, Assistant Director at the Center for Biomedical Career Development, nominated Amy for the award, saying Amy is “shaping the foundational scientific understanding of future communicators – both conceptual knowledge as well as the process of science and ability to critically evaluate evidence.” The Emerson Science Communication Collaborative “pairs undergraduate students interested in science communication with local early career scientists in a semester-long series of exchanges to further the training and skills of both audiences. Scientists are provided a rare opportunity early in their careers to practice media skills and effective communication with lay audiences in a non-threatening, low-risk environment that utilizes the expertise of Emerson students. The undergraduates come to know the person behind the scientist, helping to dispel popular misconceptions about the process of science and providing more accurate, nuanced, and diverse portraits of who does science. Culminating projects range from children’s books to public service announcements to a musical composition based upon the genetic sequence of a strain of H1N1 flu virus.”

Seeking to effect national change, Amy initiated a collaboration with the UK-based nonprofit, Sense About Science, to help establish their “Ask for Evidence” campaign in the US. Thompson states, “as the name suggests, this campaign encourages everyone to question claims in politics, media, and advertising. Amy’s ingenuity and commitment was vital to providing the foundation for continued national programming following the public launch of the US campaign in February 2013. Briefly, Amy secured funding from a Consumer Awareness Project Grant at Emerson to: 1) conduct a public survey exploring the public relationship with evidence; 2) develop a US campaign website with resources for how to ask, how to evaluate evidence (including a platform to connect with local scientists), and examples of participant experiences; 3) host a media training workshop for future scientists and communicators; 4) carry-out program evaluation, including Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) questionnaires (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities, 2012).”

Amy’s passion for science communication has led her to not only play an active role in the Boston area science outreach community, but to be a member of the National Association of Science Writers, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and Voice of Young Science USA. Her passion for science education and outreach stems back well before her faculty position at Emerson. For more than a decade, Amy has been involved in the advancement of the public’s understanding of science -- directing the Harvard graduate student organization Science in the News, developing exhibits at the Museum of Science Boston, and playing an important role in discussions of the implications of new genetic technologies with the Genetics and Society Working Group.

Paul Shin AwardDr. Murray attended the COPUS 2014 Invitational from Sep 18-21 in New Mexico, receiving a $500 cash prize and recognition plaque, while taking part in two days of science outreach networking and educational events. Amy said, “this award is really gratifying as recognition of work that isn't necessarily part of the job description for typical academic scientists and isn't is always valued explicitly in the scientific community. It is also an incredible honor because it is coming from a community of people that, themselves, have done such amazing, and often unrecognized, work in science outreach and because I've learned what a special individual and leader Paul Shin was to this community.”

Amy also expressed “gratitude to the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship at Emerson for helping to identify and secure funding opportunities, including the Consumer Awareness Project fund, to support development and broader expansion of this work."

Co-founder of COPUS, Judy Scotchmoor said, "The Paul Shin award is very special to us at COPUS. In the short time that we knew Paul, we were captivated by his energy and determination to make a difference in the world."

Learn more about the Paul Shin Award.



About COPUS

COPUS The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots effort to engage the public in science and increase public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. What COPUS does is simple: create a network of peers that build community for science through promoting dialogue, building connections, and sharing ideas and resources. Learn more at http://www.copusproject.org.
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COPUS Invitational Unconference II

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COPUS Unconference II

COPUS convened its second Invitational Unconference April 12-14 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. Like the first unconference, this event brought together an eclectic and diverse group of science professionals and enthusiasts to discuss sciences' public interfaces.

By design, this conference was smaller than the 2012 event and there was a distinct mission: to capture the potential energy from the first year's event and turn it into a force that rallies the COPUS community.

The thirty-six attendees enjoyed the same shared conversations and sense of renewal that made COPUS I unique, but they also committed to building a framework through which we will facilitate collaborations, engage the broader scientific community, and create measurable impact in bringing science to the public. This event was a beginning rather than an end unto itself.

Another celebration of science is in the making, so stay tuned to hear more about what the COPUS Corps is building and how you can join us in our goals for 2015.

COPUS Announces the 2013 Paul Shin Award Winner

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Press contact: Khadijah M. Britton, COPUS
617-997-3394, kmb@betterbio.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2013

Washington DC -- The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) today announced this year's winner of the second annual Paul Shin Award, honoring the unsung heroes of science communication and engagement.

Paul Shin Award The 2013 winner is Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer, Ph.D., Vice-director and News Editor for Ciencia Puerto Rico. For the past seven years, Mónica has dedicated 20-30 hours a week of unpaid work to Ciencia Puerto Rico (www.cienciapr.org), a non-profit grassroots organization that promotes science, research and scientific literacy in Puerto Rico, all while working toward (and obtaining) her PhD in neuroscience at Harvard University. Mónica explains: "I love the lab bench, but through Ciencia Puerto Rico I've realized that my true passion lies in outreach, communicating science and making it available to everyone."

Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, Ph.D. , Executive Director of Ciencia Puerto Rico, nominated Dr. Feliú-Mójer saying, "Mónica has enhanced science communication directly, through her writings and innovative education programs, but perhaps most importantly, through her example, she has empowered fellow scientists to get involved and do the same. "

Paul Shin AwardUpon receiving the award, Dr. Feliú-Mójer said, "What I love most about Ciencia Puerto Rico is that everyone in the (mostly volunteer) group is equally passionate about making a difference. I am so excited to connect with people from across the United States that share that passion." Dr. Feliú-Mójer will attend the COPUS 2013 Invitational from April 12-14 in Monterey, CA, receiving a $500 cash prize and recognition plaque, while taking part in two days of science outreach networking and educational events.

Co-founder of COPUS, Judy Scotchmoor said, "The Paul Shin award is very special to us at COPUS. In the short time that we knew Paul, we were captivated by his energy and determination to make a difference in the world. The nominees for this year's award were fantastic, but Dr. Feliú-Mójer made an impression on us. Her tireless enthusiasm and commitment to sharing science to reach her community is exactly what we aspire to recognize through this award."

Learn more about the Paul Shin Award.

Download the press release in English or Spanish.




About COPUS

COPUS The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots effort to engage the public in science and increase public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. What COPUS does is simple: create a network of peers that build community for science through promoting dialogue, building connections, and sharing ideas and resources. Learn more at http://www.copusproject.org.

About Ciencia Puerto Rico

Ciencia Puerto Rico Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting science, research and science education in Puerto Rico and among Hispanics in the U.S. Through its online platform, CienciaPR brings together the geographically dispersed but emotionally connected Puerto Rican scientific community and leverages their collective knowledge and expertise for the promotion of science careers, education and public understanding of science. Learn more at www.cienciapr.org,

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2013 COPUS Invitational II Announced - Applications Now Being Accepted

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NEW FRIENDS, NEW IDEAS, FANTASTIC LOCATION
Apply now to join us at the second annual COPUS Invitational Unconference.

The COPUS leadership is convening its second COPUS Invitational Unconference, a unique event that will bring together "COPUSetic" individuals to inspire one another and to generate ideas of how we can work together to engage the public in a celebration of science. Hosted at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in California April 12-14, 2013, this small invitational event will provide participants with renewed energy - an opportunity to "replenish," share ideas, learn from others, and build community among people who share common goals.

Learn more and submit an application to attend! The deadline for applications is February 25, 2013.

COPUS Name a Species Contest Yields Top New Species

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Jellyfish

Arizona State University's International Institute for Species Exploration announced its top 10 newly described species list for 2011 this week, and the species named through the Year of Science 2009 Biodiversity month activity was on the list!

A newly discovered and yet to be named Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish (BBBJ) was "donated" to the Year of Science 2009 efforts by scientists Bud Gillan, Allen Collins, Basti Bentlage, and Tara Lynn to provide a really unique opportunity for anyone to participate in the excitement of naming a new species. The naming contest helped participants learn about biodiversity, taxonomy, and how science works.

Hundreds of names were submitted, and seven were posted to the Year of Science 2009 Web site for general voting. After nearly 800 votes, the winner was selected, and the BBBJ went down in scientific history as the now famous Tamoya ohboya.

Are you wondering how Lisa Peck came up with this name? Here is her explanation:

LIsa Peck

I bet "Oh Boy" is the first thing said when a biologist or layman encounters the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. It is not often that a new amazing species is discovered, especially one so beautiful. I am confident that Bud Gillian exclaimed "Oh Boy" when he saw tourist Vicki Carr's video of the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish (a never before seen species of jellyfish). Vicki probably exclaimed "Oh Boy" when Bud called her to tell her the news of her amazing discovery. I am sure that "Oh Boy" was uttered by the 3 people who were stung by the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. In addition, I bet that "Oh Boy" was spoken by the doctors when they saw the wounds inflicted by the nematocysts of the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. Later, the doctors probably uttered "Oh Boy" when they were confident that these 3 people would survive their encounter with the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. And finally, when I saw the website Year of Science: Species naming contest of the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish I loudly exclaimed "Oh Boy"!! Therefore I am suggesting the scientific name Tamoya ohboya be given to this amazing creature.

Congratulations to the scientific team Allen Collins, Bastian Bentlage, William (Bud) Gillan, Tara Lynn, Andre Morandini & Antonio Marques and to Lisa Peck! Read more about naming a new species and our species naming contest on the Year of Science Web site!

The COPUS Invitational Unconference - did it work?

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Unconference

A month has passed since the First Annual COPUS Invitational Unconference took place. I am honestly still buzzing from the excitement of the adventure. Most of the evaluations are in now, so I thought it would be helpful to share the results and take a quick look at whether we were successful in meeting our goals for the event.

We set out to:

1 - Strengthen and expand the COPUS network by creating new connections among attendees during and after the meeting.

2 - Create an architecture of engagement for future science convenings that cross domains of science outreach (informal, formal, academic, and corporate) that do not normally interact, but need to.

3 - Provide direction for future activities of the COPUS community by evaluating what is currently being done, identifying new needs, and building upon ongoing successes.

4 - Provide a new forum and recognition for those conducting public outreach.

We also wanted to bring people together who often operate in isolated pockets to create a space where they could build on one another's knowledge, support one another, and encourage them in their efforts.

You can read the results of the evaluation at a glance.

In summary:

We definitely expanded the network, moving from the COPUS Core to the COPUS Corps. The Unconference format was a refreshing change from the usual and helped to facilitate creative conversations. It also provided a forum for new "friends" to meet, recognize one another, and leave replenished and refreshed. As one attendee put it "it was like fitness camp ...and a relaxed spa....for my brain."

To top it all off, we were able to salute the 2012 Paul Shin Memorial Award recipient - Bill Gomez. Paul would have been so proud to be honored among such a warm, fun group of kindred spirits.

So, for me, overwhelmingly, the event was a success... and it even had a little dash of magic (snow in the Southern Arizona desert in March sound magical enough?). Where are we meeting next year, everyone??

The Evolution of COPUS: From core to corps

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On March 16-18, 2012, COPUS held its first Invitational Unconference at the Biosphere 2 facilities near Tucson, AZ. Fifty-seven individuals came together to talk about a common concern - how the public perceives and interacts with science. Upon arrival, most of the attendees were perhaps a bit unsure of what was to transpire, but almost instantly introductions and bonding took place and conversations emerged through which they shared ideas, generated new ones, recognized challenges and investigated strategies for dealing with them. This was a meeting of unparalleled energies fueled by a high level of diversity - age, ethnicity, geography, perspectives, institutional/organizational connections, outreach strategies, etc. - and it was that diversity that enhanced both the listening and the sharing - a true cross-fertilization of ideas. We had hoped that all would leave feeling renewed, and it appears that this was accomplished (and then some).

This conference was truly something quite unique but rather hard to put into words. We will post testimonials and evaluation data that we will help to describe what transpired, but suffice it to say that COPUS has moved from an idea (2006) and an amorphous network (2009) to a group of 12 individuals (the COPUS Core) (2010) and now to a COPUS Corps. There are 57 individuals who went away from our meeting with renewed energies. They will each return to their own home areas and continue their own individual efforts to increase the public understanding of science, but now in collaboration with new friends and colleagues. The COPUS evolution continues...

COPUS hosts first ever COPUS Invitational Unconference to Take Place March 16-18, 2012 at BioSphere 2

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Press contact: Sheri Potter, American Institute of Biological Sciences
941 321 1573, spotter@aibs.org

March 7, 2012

COPUS - a grassroots network focusing on connecting the public to science -  is hosting its first Invitational Unconference on March 16-18, 2012.  At this event, a group of invited guests will meet at the Biosphere 2 facilities outside of Tucson, Arizona to discuss strategies for increasing public understanding of and engagement with science. Sponsored by the Whitman Foundation, the unconference will bring individuals that ordinarily operate in isolation together to share knowledge, experiences, and discuss challenges. The conference is a think tank, a networking event, a showcase, a forum and a celebration - all rolled into one.

At the event, COPUS will also award the 2012 Paul Shin Memorial Award to William Gomez, a docent at the Jasper Ridge Biological Laboratory in Palo Alto, California.  The Paul Shin Memorial Award was formed to honor the contributions made by former COPUS Core member, Paul Shin, who demonstrated unrelenting passion in promoting good science in everything he did - as a teacher, police officer, and society member.  Paul was an unsung hero of science, and this award enables COPUS to honor his memory, and those like him whose contributions often go unrecognized.  The 2012 recipient, William Gomez is an excellent candidate, embodying the same passion for communicating science that Paul did.

In the spirit of the Unconference, the event agenda will be driven by attendees, which includes 65 science communicators, artists, educators, and yes, scientists. Together, invitees will brainstorm on the opportunities and challenges of the science outreach community, as they focus on three core, interconnected, questions:  What is meant by public understanding of science, what is the role of the scientist in promoting public engagement in science, and how will we know we are successful at our efforts.

The event will also have opportunities for individuals to participate in the dialog via social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook.  "Asynchronous" meeting spaces will pose questions to the larger scientific community for discussion, and anyone can tweet in their ideas and opinions.

You can join the conversation by following us on Twitter - @COPUScore and using the hashtag #COPUS and #sci4all.  You can also join the COPUS Facebook Group. The meeting will also help to define future directions for the network itself.  Like the Unconference, the grassroots COPUS network is driven by its participants' needs and interests.


Stay tuned for more upcoming COPUS Unconference details.



About COPUS

The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots effort to engage the public in science and increase public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. What COPUS does is simple - it creates a network of peers that build community for science through promoting dialogue, building connections, and sharing ideas and resources. http://www.copusproject.org

COPUS hosts first ever COPUS Invitational Unconference March 16-18, 2012 at BioSphere 2

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Still basking in the enthusiasm birthed during the Year of Science 2009, The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) keeps the momentum and hosts it first invitational conference On March 16-18, 2012, at the Biosphere 2 facilities outside of Tucson, Arizona. Actually it is an UnConference, bringing together artists, educators, scientists, technologists, hobbyists and more to discuss and demonstrate who we share science and technology to others. Over 60 participants have signed up to attend the meeting; and they are coming from every walk of life and from all over.

The COPUS UnConference will be a participant-driven meeting and we'll focus on three major themes: 1) Building a community of public science engagers, 2) Defining the overarching issues in public science engagement, and 3) How to measure the impact of public science engagement locally, regionally, and nationally.

The goals of the meeting are to

  • strengthen and expand the COPUS network by creating new connections among attendees during and after the meeting;
  • create an architecture of engagement for future science convenings that cross domains of science outreach (informal, formal, academic, and corporate) that do not normally interact, but need to;
  • provide direction for future activities of the COPUS community by evaluating what is currently being done, identifying new needs, and building upon ongoing successes; and
  • provide a new forum and recognition for those conducting public outreach.

True to the grassroots mission of COPUS, the UnConference program is being crafted in real time by the attendees and non-attendees alike at the COPUS Unconference Wiki. You can also join the conversation by following us on Twitter - @COPUScore and using the hashtag #sci4all - for anything related to public engagements/outreach of science. You can also join the COPUS Facebook Group.

Stay tuned for more upcoming COPUS UnConference details.

COPUS Announces Winner of Award for Service to Public Understanding of Science

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Press contact: Roger Harris, Harris Social Media
919 662 1618, roger@harrissocialmedia.com

February 10, 2012

Washington DC -- The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science today announced this year's winner of the Paul Shin Award - an annual award honoring individuals for their dedication to communicating science to the public.

Paul Shin

The 2012 winner is William (Bill) Gomez, Docent at Fitzgerald Marine Preserve and Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Bill was an executive with Syntex for many years and was fortunate to retire early at which point he turned his prodigious talents to teaching and volunteering with various ecology and environmental science groups in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. As a volunteer, his activities vary from speaking to a wide range of visitors about the ecology and biodiversity of the preserves, assisting with research projects, tidepooling for 3rd graders, scuba diving with marine biology students, to sharing science with students at a nearby alternative high school.

Cindy Wilber, Education Coordinator at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, nominated Mr. Gomez saying, "Bill's extraordinary work teaching science to the public in both formal and informal ways has contributed much to the public understanding of science and inspired thousands of learners." Stuart Koretz, a fellow docent at the preserve wrote, "His respect and love for the natural world, detailed knowledge of natural history, enthusiastic teaching style, modesty and openness make him one of the great unsung heroes: he works tirelessly, without compensation, out of a strong need to reach out and teach natural science."

Upon receiving the award, Mr. Gomez simply said, "I am deeply honored and overwhelmed." Mr. Gomez will attend the COPUS 2012 Invitational UnConference in March to receive a $500 cash prize and recognition plaque.

Co-founder of COPUS, Judy Scotchmoor of the University of California Museum of Paleontology said, "The Paul Shin award is very special to us at COPUS. In the short time that we knew Paul, we were captivated by his energy and determination to make a difference in the world. Bill Gomez has a similar dedication and passion for the public understanding of science and is a most worthy recipient of this award."


About the Paul Shin Award
The Paul Shin Memorial Award honors individuals for contributions to the public understanding of science. The award is managed and presented by the Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science.

About COPUS
The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) is a grassroots effort to engage the public in science and increase public understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. What COPUS does is simple - it creates a network of peers that build community for science through promoting dialogue, building connections, and sharing ideas and resources. http://www.copusproject.org

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