November 9, 2021

Mark your calendars, the Center for Communication Science will be celebrating its 5th anniversary with the annual Communicating Science Week! Taking place between March 16th through the 22nd of 2022, the week will showcase the efforts of faculty and graduate students from across multiple disciplines to connect with communities and address “wicked” problems our world faces.

The Nutshell Games, the center’s 90-second graduate student research talk competition, offers graduate students the opportunity to show off their communication skills and present their research to a public audience. With an emphasis on communicating to non-scientists, the Nutshell Games is judged by a diverse panel of people from Virginia Tech, the surrounding Blacksburg community, and beyond.

Since the first Nutshell Games in 2017, many IGC Fellows have participated and claimed wins. IGC Alumnus Dr. Max Ragozzino claimed top prize in 2017 with, “Emerald Ash Borer, and How We’re Stopping it with the Chestbuster from Alien.” The next year, Brenen Wynd finished in first place with a presentation focused on mass extinctions, “Almost All My Friends Are Dead.” Tyler Weiglein’s participation was also featured in an article highlighting communication workshops held before the competition.

Max Ragozzino.
In the field with Max Ragozzino.
Brenen Wynd
Brenen Wynd and other winners accepting their awards.

And let’s not forget our most recent 2020 Nutshell winners. Last year, IGC Fellows Amber WendlerSara Teemer RichardsAbby Lewis, and now IGC Alumnus Dr. Bennett Grooms swept the competition in a 4-way tie for first place. Fellows, hang onto your great 90-second talk ideas and look for a registration announcement in January!

Amber Wendler
The evolution of bird parenting behavior was the topic of Amber Wendler's winning presentation.
Amber Wendler
Bennett Grooms explained the importance of wildlife protection for studying human behavior.
Abby Lewis
Abby Lewis described her efforts to build models that predict water quality.
Sara Richards
Sara Richards explained virus transmission events.

The Center for Communication Science is also asking for anyone (from within or outside of the VT community) who is involved in outreach, community engagement, research communication, or similar area to reach out. Please email center director Patty Raun at

Coordinators of seminar and lecture series are also asked that you consider reserving the seminar slot during that week for a speaker, workshop, or event related to communicating science. Please email Patty Raun with your availability.