Category Archives: Communication

1000 Words Event

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1000 Word Challenge

Friday April 15th 1st, from 5:30-7:00 at the Burke Museum

Can you describe your research using the 1000 most common words in English? Could you do it better than your co-researcher?  Would you like to hear from and meet graduate students from around the UW present their research in a fun and entertaining way?

Then come join us for the fourth annual 1000 Word Challenge and Happy Hour! Test to make sure your entry only uses the 1000 most common words. Then, when you’re ready, enter with your 1000 word and regular research description. (You’ll need to enter through UW email). Please fill out the entry by midnight Sunday April 11th to be considered for prizes, as voted on by the audience. First prize is a $100 gift certificate to the University Bookstore. Second and third prize winners get $50 and $25 respectively.

Last year, we had a lively competition (see information about the entries below (or click this link). There will be light and snacks to enjoy. You can purchase 2 glasses of wine or beer for $5.  Come to hear your fellow graduate students, and enjoy meeting students from all around the college.  We look forward to seeing you!

Thought Experiments – Genetics and Synthetic Biology, A Report

Image from the Infinity Box Theater

Image from the Infinity Box Theater

FOSEP members and other guests had a great time at the Thought Experiments with Infinity Box Theater. The four plays were:

  • Editors by Holly Arsenault, directed by Susanna Burney
  • Frivolous Natura by Kelly Mak, directed by Roy Arauz
  • Anomie by Courtney Meaker, directed by Teresa Thuman
  • Solace by Bryan Willis,  directed by Tyrone Brown

After the play, there was a lively discussion, followed by a Happy Hour and conversation at Schultzy’s Sausage. The plays touched on issues like whether it was better to intervene (scientifically and genetically) or let things develop “naturally” (using a metaphor of genetically engineered tomatoes that were efficient but didn’t taste good, and making and developing music); enhancement using genetic engineering and making / creating better people (which could result in “mistakes” for some people), security and biological hacking, and replacing bad genes using technologies like CRISPR in the near future to inject DNA into people (but only those who were more privileged).

In the discussions during the intermission with my seatmates and FOSEP members, I was pleased to see that not everyone in our group had the same interpretation of what we saw – we each layered our experience on top of what we saw.  I find I often want to know what something means *before* I attempt to interpret it, but that maybe I need to talk about how I respond to the art emotionally first. The purpose of the plays was for each of us to engage with the material in our own way – to have our own “thought experiments” with the material.

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Brandon Peecock, from the Young Naturalists was a great host for the 1000 Word Event this year.

Third Annual 1000 Word Event, 2015

FOSEP, the Young Naturalist’s Society, and the Burke Museum presented the 1000 word event on April 9th.  Brandon Peecock (pictured above) from the Young Naturalists did a great job of hosting.  Photograph copyright Sean Gilliland.

Audience members enjoying the event. © Sean Gilliland | www.loveisadventure.com

Audience members enjoying the event. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

(I definitely need to get better at getting blog posts up more in a more timely fashion!  I apologize to those who participated on the amount of time this took).  That said, the event was a great success!

We used little chips to vote during the event. © Sean Gilliland | www.loveisadventure.com

We used little chips to vote during the event. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

We had about 50 attendees, even with the changes this year to having a small fee for drinks. There were 21 people who entered, and 16 that competed.  This year, winners were chosen by popular vote.

Each entrant had a bag which participants put their chips into.

Each entrant had a bag which participants put their chips into. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

The winners of the competition were: Dave Slager (Biology) in first place, Jennifer Day (Biology) in second place, and Jen Whiting (Pharmacology) in third place.  Thanks to all who chose to compete.  We look forward to seeing you next year.

FOSEP leaders helped entrants register during the event. © Sean Gilliland | www.loveisadventure.com

FOSEP leaders helped entrants register during the event. © Sean Gilliland | http://www.loveisadventure.com

See the winning entries after the jump – the 1000 word description is followed by the regular description.

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1000 Word Event – Recap (a month later)

We hosted the 2nd annual 1000 Word Event with the Burke Museum last month March 21st, and have finally been able to get up a blog post about it.  Apologies to everyone who entered and how late this reporting is (and apologies if your photos don’t match entries).

We had just over 60 people in attendance at the event.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the Happy Hour, and then were a great audience for the event itself.  I was impressed with my colleagues and their creativity, as well as the broad showing of departments we had from all around the University.

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The judges and audience at the 1000 Word Presentations

One of the things FOSEP members wanted to focus on this year was communication, and we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to try in a friendly environment.  When I was writing my entry, I was surprised at how hard it was to convey my research using the 1000 most common words, but found that it really challenged me to think about what my research means.  I was trying to use both fast and slow thinking and understand where my audience was coming from, as we had talked about earlier in the year in our book club, but I found it was hard when limited to these words.   (How do you talk about hypertension if you can’t even use the word blood pressure – blood pushing on the inside of course). 

See more, including the entries and winners after the jump…

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Graduate student Happy Hour @ the Burke & the 1000 words challenge!

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Complete flyer: FOSEP_1000_word_challenge_2014

Where: Burke Museum
When: Friday March 21st 5:00-8:30pm (6-7pm for the 1000 Word Challenge)

Hello Graduate & Professional students!

Join us for a packed  and fun-filled  1000 Words Contest and End of the Quarter Happy Hour at the Burke Museum of Natural History. We had close to 200 people last year!  Come enjoy food and drink, celebrate the end of the quarter, and enjoy networking with your peers from all over the university.The Challenge takes place March 21 at the Burke Museum. Grand prize is a $100 gift card for the University Bookstore.  Test your blurb to make sure it before you enter online by noon March 20th.

Brought to you by The Burke Museum and FOSEP (Forum on Science Ethics and Policy).

Judging Criteria

  • Language – Does the entry convey the work of the grad student  in a clear and concise manner, using the 1000 words in an economical and grammatically correct fashion?
  • Style – Does the entry go beyond clear word choice to incorporate humor, prose, rhythm or other elements of style to good effect.
  • Presentation – Does the candidate present their entry effectively?   Considerations are enunciation, volume, posture, and dress.

This year’s Judges are.

  • Jessica Robles, a scholar in Communication Studies who spends much of her time teaching, reading, writing, and thinking about what, how, and why people talk the way they do in everyday life.
  • David B. Williams, a former national park ranger, outdoor instructor, museum educator, and the author of The Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from the City, Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, and Cairns: Messengers in Stone.
  • Alaina Smith, Director of External Affairs for the Burke Museum.