Communicating Complex Ideas: A CU Boulder and Public Media Collaboration


The Graduate Teacher Program solicited proposals from graduate students in both Arts & Humanities and STEM for a new project on public speaking. Graduate students develop their dissertations using complex language and models, which may be incomprehensible to those outside their disciplines. This project allows future academic leaders to receive assistance in translating and presenting the content of their work for a lay audience. Selected graduate students will receive a $500 grant for their participation in the project.

Graduate students attended three group meetings during fall semester and will attend three during spring semester to work on their projects, receive individual public speaking guidance, and practice with filming their presentations. Participants will present their work and be filmed at the Capstone event on April 15 in the Abrams Lounge at the Center for Community on the Boulder campus. They will be evaluated for an award and will also have the opportunity to disseminate their work via the CU Boulder Graduate Teacher Program YouTube channel, which will be promoted through current GTP social media platforms. Also, through our contacts, some participants may have the opportunity to have aspects of their work featured beyond the campus. Awardees are working with GTP staff, faculty from the Program in Journalism & Mass Media, and from the Department of Communication, the Department of Film Studies, and staff from PBS to develop their projects. The project mentors provide professional support to help participants express concepts and ideas from their work in language that is understandable and compelling, thus expanding their ability to educate effectively. Awardees may create a brief video/media project, a written piece (such as an op ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a blog), or an oral presentation.

2014 Project Mentors:

Dominic Dezzutti Director of Production Colorado Public Television
Jamie Skerski Instructor, Department of Communication University of Colorado Boulder
Jennifer Malkowski Graduate Student , Department of Communication University of Colorado Boulder
Laura Border Director, Graduate Teacher Program University of Colorado Boulder
Lorine Giangola Lead Coordinator (STEM), Graduate Teacher Program University of Colorado Boulder
Melinda Barlow Associate Professor, Film Studies University of Colorado Boulder
Polly McLean Associate Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication University of Colorado Boulder


Awardees for the 2014 Public Speaking Project:

Name Topic Department
Adam Pérou Hermans Gorillas & conservation ENVS
Allison Rowland Zoerheterics and politics COMM
Elizabeth Lawrence College and health SOCY
Erin Baxter Pueblo site & GIS ANTH
Jennifer Avena Biology, bodies and K12 MCDB
Kathryn Nowotny Incarceration & health SOCY
Matthieu Talpe Climate change, space, ice AERO
Nathan Parrish Electric propulsion trajectory optimization AERO
Tyler Harrison Composer Maslanka MUSC

Look for next year's call for application in the fall of 2014.

If you would like further information, you can also talk with Dr. Border in the GTP office, 201 ATLAS.  303.492.4902