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Each month, The Center for Communicating Science hosts public gatherings in a casual setting, with support from local business owners such as Rising Silo Brewery and The River Mill.  These science or science-inspired events bring the local community together to discuss pressing scientific issues and scientific discoveries in an interactive and highly engaging format. 

For a full list of Science on Tap NRV events visit the Science on Tap NRV Facebook page.

Many of our GCC affiliated faculty and Ph.D. students are featured in these events, to include these examples:

science and art

At this event, art and music meet science in a one-of-a-kind gallery exhibition. Come see art painted by STEM graduate students as part of the Science on Canvas exhibit. Check out the winning posters from the Flip the Fair event, a project led by Interfaces of Global Change Fellows for their capstone project, where kids judge grad students on their science!

The local band Cozette and the 5ths, a group of researchers and IT gurus who also play classic pop and rock favorites, will keep us entertained during this gallery- themed evening.

This special Science on Tap concludes Communicating Science Week at Virginia Tech. 

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This month, we are excited to welcome Marissa Langager and Amber Wendler to Science on Tap for a bird walk and many other interactive bird activities! Birds are an extremely diverse group of animals with about 10,000 species spanning all seven continents. They play an important role in our ecosystems and can tell us a lot about what’s going on in the environment. Amber and Marissa will teach us about these wonderful animals, followed by an optional leisurely walk where we will identify local birds and contribute to community science.

Amber is a Ph.D. student in the Biological Sciences department at Virginia Tech. Her research investigates differences in bird behavior between rainforest and dry forest environments in Puerto Rico. Marissa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biological Sciences department at Virginia Tech. She studies disease ecology in birds, focusing on how challenges in a bird’s early life may impact the way they experience the world later in life.

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For our first in-person event since the pandemic began, join fish ecologist Emmanuel Frimpong and his collaborators on an exploration of Blacksburg's stream ecology that unites biology and art! See some of our local fish up close, make some art with Virginia Tech artist Hiromi Okumura, and learn more about the amazing aquatic biodiversity that abides among us.

We'll meet at the Meadowbrook Picnic Shelter in Heritage Park.

We will have ice cream and water for attendees, so please RSVP on Eventbrite so we can get a head count.

Before or after the event, you can also go bike, hike, ride the bus, or drive to Rising Silo, the restaurant/brewery that will again be our venue for events from September onward. The Heritage Trail connects the Meadowbrook picnic shelter and Rising Silo's location on Glade Road!

Please note that there is a porta-jon at the parking lot, but no running water bathrooms--please plan accordingly for your restroom needs.

If you have any questions about accessibility, please get in touch via FB message or email

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It is hard to overstate the importance of oxygen on Earth; without it, we simply would not exist. In this interactive talk, Abby Lewis will demonstrate how researchers first learned about this critical element, highlighting a scientific process that was inextricably tied to the social and political climate of the time. Abby Lewis is a Ph.D. candidate in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on how oxygen in lakes is changing in response to climate change and nutrient pollution, and how changes in oxygen may have important implications for the role of lakes in the global carbon cycle.

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Today, Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans (APIDA) make up roughly 6% of the population of the United States, and more than 10% of the student and faculty populations at Virginia Tech. While experiences of the APIDA community have largely been spoken about collectively, the community has roots in over 40 countries and a wide range of cultural identities. This month’s Science on Tap NRV will include a panel discussion featuring graduate students and faculty at Virginia tech. Join us to get a glimpse of the diverse, challenging, and vibrant experiences of being Asian/Pacific Islander in academia.

  • Our panelists are:
    Sara Teemer Richards, Graduate student, Department of Biological Sciences
    Khanh To, Graduate student, Department of Geosciences
    Dr. Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Associate Professor, Department of English
    Minh Duong, Graduate student, Department of Food Science and Technology
    Na Xie, Graduate student, Department of Entomology
    Dr. Sweta Baniya, Assistant Professor, Department of English
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“Keeping hope alive, and fanning that flame in others, is an important adaptive leadership activity that anyone can practice from anywhere,” says Dr. Bruce Hull, co-author of the recently published book Leadership for Sustainability: Strategies for Tackling Wicked Problems. Hull is passionate about promoting system change when government, business, and civil society intersect with environmental and economic challenges. He is Senior Fellow at the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and president of the board of Climate Solutions University. Hull will share stories that bring him hope--about innovative strategies for tackling today’s most pressing challenges, including climate, food, water, and justice.

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What do you think about when you think about tigers, squirrels, or birds? Did you know that the way you think about animals directly impacts how scientists conserve wildlife? Our February Science on Tap speaker, Bennett Grooms, will lead us in a captivating discussion about how your voice can contribute to wildlife conservation. Bennett is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Wildlife and Conservation at Virginia Tech. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Bennett received a master’s degree in wildlife conservation from Arkansas Tech University. He also spent several years working with big cats and bears in zoos across the United States.

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Join five Black scientists from different fields, institutions, and career levels as they share their experiences in science and academic professions. Each panelist will introduce themselves, their research passions, and their workplace concerns, and then we’ll hold an audience Q&A. Our panelists are:

  1. Amber Wendler is a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences. Amber studies the behavior of tropical birds. She recently co-organized #BlackBirdersWeek.
  2. Daniel Smith is a graduate student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Daniel studies the role of plants in streambank erosion.
  3. Korin Jones is a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences. Korin studies the skin microbiome of frogs.
  4. Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong is a professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. Dr. Frimpong studies the ecology and conservation of freshwater fishes.
  5. Dr. Shaz Zamore (they/them) is an instructor and STEM outreach and inclusion faculty member at the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Zamore conducted post-doctoral research at Virginia Tech, working with flying snakes in the laboratory of Dr. Jake Socha.
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Members of the local Blacksburg-Radford pod of 500WomenScientists will lead trivia on the history of women in science and then give flash talks about their current research. Come raise a glass to brilliant women researchers, past and present!

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Entomologist Derek Hennen will show us some of the colorful and diverse millipedes that people may find around southwestern Virginia. If weather cooperates, we may do a quick millipede hunt around the brewery grounds, farm, or Heritage Trail. Feel free to bring millipedes (or other arthropods) you have questions about!

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Join us for fun, trivia, and a fossil show-and-tell with local award-winning science communicator Brenen Wynd. Wynd is a paleontology graduate student at Virginia Tech, who was one of three winners of the university's Center for Communicating Science's 2018 Nutshell Games. See you on the 25th!

Guest experts paleontologist Michelle Stocker and the grad students on her team have all sorts of skeletons to show you.

Dress up as your favorite spooky prehistoric creature, either in fossil skeleton, zombie, or living form. Winner of our costume competition will get a 3D-printed fossil keepsake.

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Play games.
Meet a scientist.
Discuss ideas.

Join us as guest scientist Bill Hopkins reveals a snot otter's view of sustainability.