Missouri Journalism Students to Attend DC Global Science Conference

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American Association for the Advancement of Science Provides Networking, News Coverage Opportunities

By Ashley Szatala

Columbia, Mo. (Feb. 9, 2016) – Six Missouri School of Journalism students and one University of Missouri chemistry major will attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference, held Feb. 11-15 in Washington, D.C. This is the third year MU journalism students have attended the conference.

AAAS is the largest general scientific conference in the world, according to its website. It is attended by thousands of scientists and policymakers as well as hundreds of journalists and science writers. The organization’s goal is to advance science for the benefit of all and to add to the public’s understanding of science.

The journalism students are part of a new student group on campus, Science, Health & Environmental Journalism (@MizzouSHEJ). Assistant Professor Sara Shipley Hiles serves as the faculty adviser and will accompany the group to the conference.

AAAS Conference

The 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference will be held Feb. 11-15 in Washington, D.C.

Students attending are:

  • Katherine Hambrick, senior, journalism
  • Hannah Lazo, senior, journalism
  • Jennifer Lu, graduate student, journalism
  • Katy Mersmann, graduate student, journalism
  • Molly Olmstead, graduate student, journalism
  • Lauren Puckett, junior, journalism
  • Anahita Zare, graduate student, chemistry

“From a science perspective, AAAS is the chance to interface with the public and with colleagues from around the world to showcase our science and research,” Hiles said. “From a journalism perspective, we want to represent our science journalism program, and many major science outlets, research institutions and businesses participate in an exclusive internship fair for journalism students.”

Journalism students attending the conference will have the opportunity to attend scientific panels and sessions, attend the National Association of Science Writers internship fair, network with hundreds of science journalists, produce blog posts for Unearthed Magazine, and present to other students about their experiences once they return.

Students are excited about attending the internship fair, which has featured representatives from National Geographic, Nature and Science News and other top science publications.

Zare, who will present a poster on her chemistry research, is also interested in science communication. She is president of Science Communication and Public Engagement (SCAPE), a group for graduate science students who want to communicate science better. SCAPE and SHEJ plan a joint meeting to discuss common goals when the group returns.

Students received travel funding from several sources, including MU’s student Organization Resource Group and Mizzou Advantage. Part of the Mizzou Advantage grant will help sponsor the Science Writers Party. A crowd of 600 science writers and science journalism professors and students is expected to attend. Printed materials about the Missouri School of Journalism will be available at the event.

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