Engage Evaluation Update 2015

Lab Note #5
Sep 18, 2015

We've been under the radar for over a year, but we have a lot of successes to share with our backers and the experiment program!

This year, 14 graduate students completed the Engage course and gave public presentations about their research at Town Hall Seattle. In the process, they also provided us with a slew of data!

The "elevator pitch" is one of the skills our students develop through the Engage course. Students learn to use a "hook" to draw the listener in, tell a story, and answer "so what?" when it comes to their research. The students were asked to prepare a 1-2 minute explanation of their research before receiving any communication training through our course, and again after learning how to give a good elevator pitch. Our external reviewers watched these videos without knowing whether the video they were watching was a "before" elevator pitch, or an "after." The reviewers evaluated based on how well the presenter achieved our five main learning goals of effective science communication:

  • Taking the audience and context into consideration
  • Conveying complex ideas simply, directly, and clearly
  • Communicating the "so what" of the research in ways the audience can understand
  • Telling an interesting story
  • Having self-confidence when speaking

So how did the reviewers have a context for good and bad elevator pitches? We gave them examples! Here is the standard "high-scoring" elevator pitch example we used, an excellent pitch from Ian Johnson, a student from the previous year's cohort.

Elevator Pitch Example - Ian Johnson from Engage Science on Vimeo.

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