Happy Holidays From COMPASS!

Warm wishes! (Image by Kettlebeller via Flickr)

Our blog is sipping some hot chocolate, relaxing, and enjoying the festive season. We hope you are doing the same. We’ll be back on January 13. Wishing you the best this holiday season! [Read more…]

‘Tis The Season…To Build In Time For Reflection.


December, especially this week, is crunch time.  Instead of indulging in sparkling wine by the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree, I’m drinking coffee with my computer in my lap combing through elaborate spreadsheets. Because the calendar year is our fiscal year, we at COMPASS are knee deep in budgets, planning, forecasting, and administration.  Sound familiar? Perhaps your crunch time involves grading finals, submitting grades, scheduling the next term’s lectures, balancing your year-end budgets? Lots of us are drowning in what feels like a never-ending sea of things to do before we can finally put work aside for the holidays. [Read more…]

Taking Meetings From Painful To Productive

COMPASS Fire Workshop 2014

From one-hour conference calls to multiple-day workshops, meetings are all too often considered a necessary evil. Although bringing people together can be critical for building consensus or tackling problems that involve multiple stakeholders, many of us see meetings as stealing time from more engaging and rewarding efforts, like conducting research, writing papers, or sharing your science with new audiences. However, with a little more investment upfront, most meetings could be much more efficient and – better yet – productive. [Read more…]

About Us: Karmel James

Karmel greeting freshmen as an RA at University of Mary Washington's orientation week.

Karmel James is COMPASS’ coordinator, a role she describes as part stagehand and part helmsman. She says, “I work behind the curtain to make sure that the COMPASS experience is great for everyone we interact with. I manage the logistics of events and scheduling, and ensure that our DC office is running smoothly and on course.”

Karmel’s work at COMPASS is the latest chapter in her commitment to making science understood and embraced by non- scientists, a commitment that began with the science “magic shows” she performed at libraries to make science exciting and accessible for kids and their parents. Karmel says, “My goal is to show how science is not only important, it’s familiar. The principles and values that guide science are ones that we use everyday as we make decisions about what to do, what to buy, etc. And what I love about working at COMPASS is that we work not just with one specific issue, but towards a larger goal of ensuring that science is even more widely used and appreciated.” [Read more…]