Communication Down Under

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I was recently in Australia (one of my favorite places in the world–despite the abundance of poisonous/dangerous animals). This was a combination work-holiday trip, and the following description provides some highlights:

Keynote Address at the University of Wollongong

I gave a keynote address “Communication Tools and Strategies for the 21st Century Scientist” at the Australian Mangrove & karenmckee_au_2015Salt Marsh Network conference held at the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia. This was a great opportunity not only to reconnect with colleagues who study my favorite ecosystems, but to share my ideas about communication. You can see a version of this talk on the Prezi website (a few things were changed to fit this particular audience). I got lots of great feedback from the audience, especially students who had a number of questions about developing their own communication strategies. Also, I made contact with other scientists active in science communication:

Seminar at The University of New South Wales

In addition to the keynote address, I also visited Ben McNeil at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and gave a seminar entitled, “How Video Can Enhance the Communication of Science”. Ben is a co-founder of Thinkable, an online platform that facilitates crowdfunding of research and requires proposers to pitch their projects in a 3-minute video. We had interacted previously by email and Skype; so this trip was a chance to meet in person and share ideas about scientists using video. I also made some great contacts with science communicators at the seminar. Read more about Thinkable in this earlier post.

karen2Also, Thinkable is currently running a competition with a $5,000 award; the submission deadline has passed, but voting is ongoing until April 30, 2015. I mention this competition because you can see how some researchers are structuring video proposals and perhaps get some ideas for your next video (and don’t forget to vote!).


I also had the opportunity before the conference to do some traveling around South Australia and try out my iPhone 6 to shoot video. In the photo, I’m setting up the phone to shoot a time lapse of the surf on Kangaroo Island. I’ll be sharing my experiences and some of those videos in later posts.


As you may have noticed, I’ve not written any posts recently. Between traveling and a computer crash (aaaarrgggghhhh), I’ve not been able to write much of substance. I was really hamstrung without access to my photo and movie files. Fortunately, I had everything backed up….unfortunately, the backup was at home 9,000 miles away. However, I’m now all set up with a new laptop and ready to catch up with my writing.

More about this trip later….