Category Archives: AAAS Community Engagement Fellowship

Building Trust in Online Communities

In the second of our series of posts by the 2019 Community Engagement Fellowship cohort, Julianna Mullen walks us through her experiences building trust in an online community and sparking conversations in an authentic way. A marine biologist and writer by training, Julianna is the Communications and Community Manager for the Ocean Acidification Information Exchange at the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) working at the intersection of scientists and conversations.

It had been the first bullet point in the job description: “Increase community engagement.”

The Community Manager for The Ocean Acidification Information Exchange would be in charge of getting its member scientists, policymakers, and educators talking to one another about preparing and adapting to ocean acidification. I’d been a scientist and communicator for some time, but I’d never been a Community Manager; when I accepted the post, I knew the learning curve would be steep, but I was excited! Fast-forward into Month Two of my employment, when I’d made a series of important discoveries:

  1. The OA Information Exchange was so quiet I could almost hear the crickets when I logged on.
  2. Using the phrase “increasing engagement” to describe the breadth, scope, and complicatedness of my work was like calling the Encyclopedia Britannica “some books.”
  3. I couldn’t rely on researching myself out of the hole because there simply wasn’t much material that spoke to what I was trying to do.
  4. I’d failed to understand that an online community, even one comprised of scientists and policymakers working on something as technical as ocean acidification, needs the same kind of emotional tending as in-person communities.

In a blind panic, I reached out to some members I knew personally and asked what was going on. What was the holdup?

“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with my stupid questions.”

“I don’t think I have anything to contribute.”

“I’m worried people will think I’m unintelligent.”

Sound familiar?

Julianna Mullen, Communications and Community Manager, NERACOOS
Julianna Mullen, Communications and Community Manager, NERACOOS

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An agile community strategy — or how to use OKRs to say no and stay focused

In the first of our series of posts by the 2019 Community Engagement Fellowship cohort, Naomi Penfold walks us through her strategy for prioritizing her workflow and staying focused. As Associate Director of ASAPbio, Naomi is leading activities to engage the research community around the use of preprints for biology. She cares about improving transparency and inclusion in processes that affect how scientists do their work, from the evaluation of manuscripts to the design of everyday tools.

You look at your week ahead, and see a calendar jam-packed with meetings and not enough time to respond to community requests or even start to deal with your inbox. Some of these interruptions will be exciting opportunities, but will they help you stay focused on your current goals for the community? Will you ever be able to leave your desk and go home? Despite our best efforts to stay organised and in control, I suspect we all end up feeling overwhelmed at times, especially when community management requires you to be there for people and be reactive in the moment as well as keep the ball rolling with long-term projects and general community programming.

If this resonates, you’re not alone: 32% community managers reported ‘prioritizing number of tasks to do’ as the greatest challenge in their role in AAAS’s survey in 2016. Clearly something has to give, but who do you prioritise and why? How do you know which tasks are most likely to contribute to your overall mission? How can you say no and avoid becoming overwhelmed? In this post, I describe a method I’m trying to outline, use, and evaluate a community-based strategy. This method has helped me to say no and stay focused before, and now I’m trying to combine it with what we are learning about community strategy through the Community Engagement Fellowship Program.

Lay out your objectives to keep your community on track. Photo by Pille Kirsi from Pexels.
Lay out your objectives to keep your community on track. Photo by Pille Kirsi from Pexels.

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Address Your Bias, Call BS, and Broaden your Networks: Interview with Monica Feliu-Mojer

Address Your Bias, Call BS, and Broaden your Networks: Interview with Monica Feliu-Mojer

 

As the CEFP 2017 cohort’s final installment in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) series, we interview Monica Feliu-Mojer, an award-winning PhD scientist-turned-communicator who leads communications and outreach for Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), a global community of more than 10,000 scientists, students, educators, and allies transforming science education in Puerto Rico, democratizing science, and training young scientific leaders. Monica also works with the non-profit iBiology, leading science communication trainings and producing video stories that explore the intersection of the culture, identity, and research of underrepresented scientists.

 

Check it out: Monica is guest-editing a special issue on “Inclusive Science Communication in Theory and Practice” for Frontiers in Communications with Erika Check Hayden, Thomas Hayden and Raychelle Burks, inviting research papers, case studies and essays. 

Monica Feliu-Mojer
Monica Feliu-Mojer

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What do we do in the foundational training week of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program? Part one: the core curriculum.

Posted by Lou Woodley, CSCCE Center Director.

Last week we hosted the initial training week for this year’s AAAS Community Engagement Fellows. It’s an intense week with plenty of time spent together in the classroom and outside of it, and where we aim to do three things:

  • Equip the fellows with a shared understanding of some core community management principles – from how we think about scientific community managers to the role of strategy, programming and culture in the work that we do.
  • Surface the expertise that the Fellows already have – through lightning talks, small group discussions and the conversations that arise during the breaks and evening social events.
  • Nurture a sense of community between the Fellows so that together we create a trust-based cohort in which they can learn and support one another over the course of the year – and beyond.

So what materials do we cover during this foundational week? The curriculum builds each day to help fellows move from describing themselves and their own communities to appraising the strategies and tactics that they’re using – and how they might update them. By the end of the week they have plenty of tools and ideas to take back to their own organizations, as well as an understanding of the role that a community playbook or collaboration guide could play in their own work.

In this post we’ll give an overview of the core curriculum and in a second post we’ll outline the community playbook activities.

It's all about the teamwork! Image credit: Lou Woodley
It’s all about the teamwork! Image credit: Lou Woodley

Continue reading What do we do in the foundational training week of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program? Part one: the core curriculum.

Meet the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows: scientific communities convened by infrastructure/halo organizations

For our last installment of posts introducing our CEFP 2019 Fellows, we’d like to introduce you to those who support scientific communities convened by infrastructure/halo organizations.

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Meet the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows: national or international research collaborations

This week we’re announcing the selection of the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Now we’d like to introduce you our 4 Fellows supporting national or international research collaborations.

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Meet the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows: supporting local research collaborations

This week, we’re introducing the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program. We’ve already highlighted Fellows building online communities. Today, we’re introducing 4 Fellows who work with local research collaborations.

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Meet the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows: building online communities (non-scientific societies/associations)

This week, we’re introducing the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program. So far, we’ve highlighted building online communities for scientific societies and associations. Today, we’re introducing 5 more Fellows who are building online communities for non-scientific societies/associations.

Continue reading Meet the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows: building online communities (non-scientific societies/associations)

Meet the 2019 Community Engagement Fellows: online communities for scientific societies and associations

Last week we announced the selection of the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program and gave you a brief overview of how they’ll be spending their year with us. Now, we’d like to introduce you to each of them, starting with 4 Fellows who are supporting online communities for scientific societies and associations.

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“Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian

“Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian

Today we continue our series of regular posts on the Trellis blog for science community managers interested in diversity, equity and inclusion. This installment features an interview conducted by Rosanna Volchok, the New York Academy of Sciences. Additional series coordinators are Jennifer Davison, Urban@UW, University of Washington, Josh Knackert, UW-Madison Neuroscience Training Program, and Marsha Lucas, Society for Developmental Biology. You can find all of the posts in the series here.

Continue reading “Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian