Science Communication Workshops

The Portal to the Public (PoP) approach is a NSF-funded, tested strategy that helps connect public audiences with local researchers and professionals through informal learning organizations. 

If you are a scientist, or STEM professional looking to share your research with a broad audience and engage the community in current research from South Dakota, join us and become a SD Discovery Center Science Communication Fellow!

Our current application period has closed. Please check back again for the summer 2021 fellowship.
If you have any questions, please contact Rhea.

Who are the Fellows?

Science Communication Fellows are scientists, engineers, researchers, graduate students, and other science professionals who have successfully completed a Science Communication Workshop and have been certified through Portal to the Public as current science ambassadors and excellent science communicators.

How can you become a Science Communication Fellow?
  • Participate in the Science Communication Fellowship
  • Develop a fun hands-on activity focused on your research
  • Present your activity at our Portal to the Public Showcase and at 2 other public events within one year

Tuition for the Science Communication Fellowship is $1,250 per participant.
Thanks to our sponsor  NSF SD EPSCoR, tuition will be waived for a limited number of participants.

What are the benefits of becoming a Fellow?

Professional Development:

  • Learn how to effectively communicate your work to diverse audiences
  • Enhance your science communication skills

Free Outreach Programs for the Public:

  • Present your hands-on activity to a general audience through various programs at the SD Discovery Center
  • Take your activity to schools, conferences, and other educational or professional events
  • Demonstrate the broader impacts of your work through multi-generational STEM education and outreach
  • Receive a certification suitable for sharing with supervisors and for grant reports and applications.

Build your Network:

  • Build and strengthen long-term relationships with regional STEM institutions, schools and teachers
  • Draw upon a network of participating Informal Science Institutions, schools, universities, and funding agencies for future collaboration and funding opportunities.

For more information visit Portal to the Public.

science communication "crash course"

If you don’t have the time to commit to a full Fellowship, but still want to improve your science communication skills: participate in one of “Crash Course” workshops.  These workshops are about 2-3 hours and are offered in different parts of the state at different times throughout the year.

If you have questions or would like to get notified when and where the next “Crash Course” is offered, please contact Rhea.


Custom science communication workshops are fun, interactive professional development experiences that improve the abilities of content experts to communicate both within their teams and with external audiences. These workshops offer opportunities to learn and practice fundamental communication skills, including using analogies and understandable language, practicing questioning strategies, and crafting messages that convey the importance and relevance of a topic. Workshops can also include development of hands-on activities to help communicate content to non-experts in approachable, engaging ways.

Custom workshops range in length and can be tailored to meet the goals and needs of your group. If desired, training can include individualized follow-up consultation with participants.

To discuss options for custom workshops, contact Rhea.

Meet our fellows!

Cohort Spring 2019 - I
  • Mercy Adoma Fosu, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Origin of Chemistry | Contact Mercy
  • Katrina Donovan, Dragonmaterials LLC in Rapid City
    ACTIVITY: 3D Printing: Layer-By-Layer | Contact Kat
  • Kim-Doang Nguyen, Mechanical Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Move It! | Contact Kim
  • Paul Okello, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Roots are Rooted for Life | Contact Paul
  • Joshua Reineke, Pharmaceutical Sciences at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: NanoMed PLINKO| Contact Josh
  • Mukesh Roy, Mechanical Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Life Behind the Cell Wall | Contact Mukesh
  • Trevor Van Den Top, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Little Frenemies: Molecular Horseplay | Contact Trevor
  • Rachel Willand-Charnley, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: The Sweet Side of Playing Hide-and-Seek with Cancer | Contact Rachel

Cohort Spring 2019 - II

  • Felix Acheampong, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Finding New Drugs for Cancer | Contact Felix
  • Amanda Hyett, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: The Carlton of Chemistry | Contact Amanda
  • Deepak Joshi, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Soil is Life, Conserve it. | Contact Deepak
  • Sadia Salam, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Water vs. Sediment| Contact Sadia
  • Marie Severson, Basic Biomedical Sciences at USD
    ACTIVITY: Using Nanoparticles to Reduce Methamphetamin Toxicity| Contact Marie
  • Prakriti Sharma, Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Drones for Digital Agriculture | Contact Prakriti
  • Buddhika Prasad Rajapaksha, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Asphalt Pavements | Contact Buddika
  • James Young, Biology and Microbiology at SDSU
    ACTIVITY: Biological Nitrogen Fixation Feeds Our Food | Contact James

    • Cohort Spring 2019 - II from left to right: Buddhika Prasad Rajapaksha, Prakriti Sharma, Felix Acheampong,
      Amanda Hyett, Deepak Joshi, Marie Severson, James Young, and Sadia Salam.

    Cohort Fall 2018
    SD EPSCoR Fellows
    • Paul Gaillard,  Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: From Fishing to Farming - How Soybeans Can Save Lakes| Contact Paul
    • Timothy Hansen, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: How do we Make Electricity and How Much Does it Cost? | Contact Tim
    • Zhongkui Hong, Biomedical Engineering at USD
      ACTIVITY: How do Cell Mechanics Affect Cardiovascular Disease? | Contact Zhongkui
    • Amos Kwabena Dwamena, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: Solving Pollution| Contact Amos
    • Bremansu Osa-Andrews, Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: New Drugs Provide Hope for Cancer Patients| Contact Bremansu
    • Alex Rickel, Biomedical Engineering at USD
      ACTIVITY: How strong are your cells?| Contact Alex

    NASA@MyLibrary Fellows

    • Drew Alton, Physics at Augustana University
      ACTIVITY: The Gravitational Lensing Game| Contact Drew
    • Lindsay Erickson, Mathematics at Augustana University
      ACTIVITY: Dots and Lines on the Moon | Contact Lindsay
    • Anahita Haghizadeh, Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITY: A Trip to the Moon | Contact Anahita
    • Bhuvan Vemuri, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITY: Waste to Energy | Contact Bhuvan

    Cohort Fall 2018 from left to right: Bremansu Osa-Andrews, Bhuvan Vemuri, Lindsay Erickson,
    Amos Dwamena, Timothy Hansen, Alex Rickel, Drew Alton, Paul Gaillard, and Anahita Haghizadeh

    Cohort Spring 2018
    • Srinivas Janaswamy, Dairy and Food Science at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: Biobeads | Contact Srinivas
    • Nathan Jones, Soil Science Division at USDA-NRCS
      ACTIVITY: Soil is Alive!! | Contact Nathan
    • Matti Osterman (Kuykendall), Soil Science Division at USDA-NRCS
      ACTIVITY: Soils Have Layers | Contact Matti
    • Jevin Meyerink, Biomedical Engineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITY: Rebuilding Bones | Contact Jevin
    • Anamika Prasad, Mechanical Engineering at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: Know Your Materials | Contact Anamika
    • Jim Stone, Civil and Environmental Engineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITY: What is you water footprint? | Contact Jim
    • Scott Wood, Nano Science and Engineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITY: Let's Play Cell! | Contact Scott
    • Cohort Spring 2018 from left to right: Graduate students Mohamed Elfaruk and Aliza Sigdel (accepting
      the fellowship award for Srinivas Janaswamy), Graduate student Mukesh Roy, Anamika Prasad,
      graduate student Josh Feiner, Scott Wood, Rhea Waldman, Jevin Meyerink

    Cohort Fall 2017
    • Scyller Borglum, Geology & Geological Engineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITY: Petroleum Engineering | Contact Scyller
    • Shaydel Davies, Basic Biomedical Sciences at USD
      ACTIVITY: Longterm Effects of Teenage Bullying | Contact Shaydie
    • Jose Gonzalez Hernandez, Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science at SDSU
      ACTIVITY:  Genomic Sequencing| Contact Jose
    • Brooke Long, Geology & Geological Engineering at SDSMT
      ACTIVITYSea Shells of the Past and Present: Environmental Change Through Time | Contact Brooke
    • Riley Paulsen, Basic Biomedical Sciences at USD
      ACTIVITY: Fire! Record and Control Live Cockroach Neurons | Contact Riley
    • Eric Sandhurst, Biomedical Engineering at USD
      ACTIVITY: Bone and Cartilage Repair | Contact Eric
    • Padmapriya Swaminathan, Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science at SDSU
      ACTIVITY: Grape Ripening and Optimal Harvest | Contact Priya

    Cohort Fall 2017 from left to right: Eric Sandhurst, Brooke Long, Scyller Borglum, Rhea Waldman, Riley Paulsen, Shaydel Davis, Jose Gonzalez Hernandez

    • Raeann Mettler, Natural Science at Black Hills State University
      ACTIVITY: Primate Evolution | Contact Raeann
    • Cecelia Miles, Biology at Augustana University
      ACTIVITY: Sleepless Fruit Flies | Contact Cecelia
    • Karla Otterpohl, Children’s Health at Sanford Research
      ACTIVITY: All about the Kidney | Contact Karla
    • Hongli Sun, Biomedical Engineering at USD
      ACTIVITY: Bone Regeneration | Contact Hongli
    Cohort Summer 2017 from left to right: Eric Sandhurst (accepting the fellowship award for Hongli Sun), Raeann Mettler, Karla Otterpohl, Cecelia Miles


    Upcoming events

    Thank you to the 
    Friends of the South Dakota Discovery Center. 
    Friends provide on going support so that the
    children and families in our community have access to hands-on science learning, now and in the future.

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