Dear Scholar,
We are pleased to host a program for current Scholars in conjunction with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. The program will take place in Princeton, New Jersey, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 9; and ending at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11.
The sessions will be highly interactive, with a premium placed on applying the skills that you will hone. As a recent report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine emphasizes, effective science communication isn’t primarily about conveying information that people lack—it’s about connecting with the complex network of values, beliefs, needs and perceptions that they use to make decisions. The goal of this workshop is to enhance how you communicate with your audience about your work and why it matters to them.
See below for a full schedule.
We look forward to seeing you in July.
Elizabeth Good Christopherson
President and Chief Executive Officer

Evening Receptions and Dinner Speakers

We invite you to join us on Sunday and Monday, July 9 and 10, for 5:30 p.m. receptions and 6:30 p.m. dinners featuring two Rita Allen Foundation Directors who are scientists with exceptional communication skills.

Samuel WangOur Sunday dinner speaker will be Princeton University neuroscientist and 2000 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar Samuel Wang. Wang has coauthored two popular books on neuroscience, and is also noted for developing statistical methods to analyze U.S. presidential election polls with unusually high accuracy. His research focuses on the cerebellum’s role in cognition and social thought processes, and he uses advanced imaging methods to search for clues to the causes of autism.

Wang will share his experiences speaking as a neuroscientist with scientific and general audiences. He will offer advice regarding how communicating appreciably helps or hinders career advancement, and also discuss how he manages national media with his work outside the lab.

Robbert DijkgraafOn Monday, our dinner speaker will be Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is a mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. An advocate for science and the arts, he has written several books for general audiences and launched a science education website on the confluence of science and society.

Dijkgraaf, a native of the Netherlands who also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Amsterdam, will offer a global perspective on communicating with different audiences, especially across cultures. He will reflect on his experiences engaging non-scientists in mathematical physics and in conversations about the importance of basic research.

Leading the Program

laura-lindenfeld-picLaura Lindenfeld is director of the Alda Center and professor in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis. As a communication researcher, her work focuses on how we can advance meaningful, productive interactions with communities, stakeholders and decision-makers by strengthening linkages between knowledge and action. Lindenfeld previously directed the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center of the University of Maine, and has dedicated significant effort to investigating the relationship of food and media and to understanding how we can advance more sustainable food systems. She coauthored the book Feasting Our Eyes: Food Films and Cultural Identity in the United States.

Carol SchindlerCarol Schindler has been a creative director, writer and speech coach for corporate conferences for the past 25 years. She has worked in every area of the corporate world, including the pharmaceutical, technology, service and financial industries. Schindler is a founding member of Chicago City Limits, an award-winning improvisational group and the longest-running comedy show in New York City. She coauthored the book A Doctor and a Plumber in a Rowboat: The Essential Guide to Improvisation for Performers, Teachers, Writers & Everyone Else.

Lydia Franco-HodgesLydia Franco-Hodges is an associate of the Alda Center, a lecturer in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, an actor and a theater maker. She taught acting, movement and performance at the University for many years. Franco-Hodges was a founding member of Mulford Rep Theater Company and a core member of the improv troupe Just Say Yes, and produces projects for the dance theater company the Neo-Political Cowgirls.

The Venue

C_Bar_Exterior_at_DuskChauncey Hotel and Conference Center
1 Chauncey Road
Princeton, New Jersey 08541
(GPS-friendly address: 660 Rosedale Road)

Chauncey is located three miles from downtown Princeton and is surrounded by 370 acres of woodlands. It features newly renovated guest rooms, an indoor salt water pool and fitness center, and nature trails.


Travel and Expenses

Participants traveling by air should fly to Newark Liberty International Airport, take the AirTrain to the NJ Transit station, board a Trenton-bound train and get off at Princeton Junction (see NJ Transit’s Trip Planner for more information).

Amtrak offers rail service to nearby Trenton, New Jersey, from points between Boston and Washington, D.C., via its Northeast Regional and Acela Express routes.

Please contact Ruth Stevens to coordinate transportation from train stations to the Chauncey Center.

The Foundation will pay directly for lodging at the Chauncey Hotel and Conference Center and group meals, and will reimburse Scholars for other travel expenses.

Click here to download an expense policy and reimbursement form.

Please contact Ruth Stevens with any questions about travel or other aspects of the program.


Sunday, July 9

12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Check-in
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Opening Dinner

Welcome, Elizabeth Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer

Samuel Wang, 2000 Scholar, RAF Director and Princeton University Neuroscientist

Monday, July 10

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Welcome and Introduction
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Foundations of Listening and Connecting
12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Context and Relating to Your Audience
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Conversational Science
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Break
3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Preparing for a Difficult Conversation
4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Reflection and Wrap-up
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Dinner

Robbert Dijkgraaf, RAF Director, and Director and Leon Levy Professor, Institute for Advanced Study

Tuesday, July 11

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Bold and Vivid Connections
10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Break
10:10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Just a Minute (JAM) Sessions
12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch and Reflection Routine
1:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Stories of Science
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Practice to Perform
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Celebrating the Journey
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Departures or Off-Site Dinner

Wednesday, July 12

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Departures

Schedule subject to change