Northwestern’s graduate programs stand at the forefront of their respective research fields. With so much groundbreaking research taking place here at Northwestern, it is increasingly important to convey the results of that research clearly and concisely to a broad variety of audiences–from expert to general. Not only are such communication skills a vital component of conveying one's message, they require diligent practice in order to become second-nature. With this in mind, the Ready Set Go (RSG) program was founded in 2012. The goals of the program are to increase awareness for the urgent need for excellent science communicators and to coach graduate and post doc researchers to improve their own presentation skills. The program focuses on three important and basic components of communication: building confidence in all communication roles, enhancing the clarity of the message, and forming a connection with any audience.
Meet our Founders
Michelle Paulsen is the program director for Reach for the Stars, an NSF funded GK12 program that places Northwestern graduate students in STEM disciplines into middle and high school classrooms to serve as “resident scientists” for the entire academic year. This program – run through Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) as well as the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) – aims to improve the communication skills of STEM researchers and help them to develop high quality educational materials for the classroom, based upon their area of research. Utilizing her extensive education and background in science education, engineering, and school leadership, Michelle has designed a summer training program, weekly meetings and monthly coursework to prepare and advance the skills of both the graduate students and the teachers in this highly regarded program. Michelle is a co-author of The Power of Partnerships and was featured Scientist of the Month for February 2013 by the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). She has been an invited presenter at NSF, AAAS, and ACS national meetings and has served as an education consultant on the development of science communication programs at universities around the country.
Alex Adler holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern's Materials Science and Engineering program. Alex's passion for communicating science started at a young age and continues now through RSG. As a performer in SPG Improv, a graduate student improv group, Alex honed the stage skills that would aid him in science enrichment programs like the Chute and Northwestern Science Education (CHANSE) after school science program. At Northwestern, his work with the Science and Engineering Research Teaching Synthesis (SERTS) program brought hands-on demos to non-science major undergraduates and promoted the importance of scientific research at universities at national labs. He has been invited to present about the RSG program at the first annual International Teacher and Scientist Partnership (ITSP) conference in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
With RSG, Alex has had the unique opportunity to work with great instructors and a fantastic student body with one common goal: tell the exciting story of science.