Category Archives: future plans

Welcome back events for the 2015/2016 School year!

FOSEP Welcome / Happy Hour – Wednesday October 7th 5:00-7:00 PM at the College Inn Pub

We wanted to welcome back members to the 2015 / 2016 school year!  FOSEP will provide food (you need to provide your own drinks). The Happy Hour will be used to meet and greet other members, and  discuss plans for the his year.  We will discuss the story that made the national news about Seattle’s vaccination rates. Many of us want to work on our communication.  As scientists, we want to just give people the facts and statistics about vaccines, but should remember that the responses people have to vaccinations are emotional.  Sometimes we think giving facts will convince them to change their minds, but minds, but maybe it is better to pay attention to emotional responses in our communications, as this story illustrates.

Please fill out this survey so we can get an idea of what subjects you want us to cover this year, and so that we can know if you’re planning on coming to the Happy Hour. The next discussion meetings will be Wednesdays November 4th and December 2nd. 

“Thought Experiments” – A Festival of Short Plays About Genetics and Synthetic Biology at Infinity Box TheaterThurs October 15th 5:30 – 9:00 PM and Friday Oct 16th, 17th 7:30 -9:30 PM (also Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:00 PM) at the Ethnic Cultural Theater

Thought Experiments Image

Promotional Image from “Thought Experiments” for the Infinity Box Theater

FOSEP is hosting a Happy Hour with Infinity Box Oct 15th at the District Lounge at 5:30 PM, and will help lead post-play discussion on October 16th –  come either day!

This year, the Infinity Box Theater will be presenting a festival  of original short plays examining how current developments in that field may impact how we answer the question of what it means to be human. They paired up scientists working in genetics and synthetic biology with local Seattle playwrights. Their collaborations have led to the creation of four intriguing short plays, each asking the question: “How might current and possible future innovations in the fields of genetics and synthetic biology change what it means to be human?

Each evening includes staged readings of the plays, followed by a scientist-led conversation, where the audience can explore the questions and issues raised by the plays.  Buy tickets here.  Student tickets are only $5!  You can also get them at the door if you want to avoid the service charge.

FOSEP and Infinity Box are officially teaming up in two ways –
1) FOSEP is hosting a pre-plays Happy Hour Thursday October 15th at the District Lounge in the Hotel DECA at 5:30 PM.  FOSEP will provide food.
2) FOSEP leaders will help lead the post-plays discussion Friday October 16th, most likely at the Pub at The College Inn.


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


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.

The Polar Vortex…and what is with all of this Crazy Weather?


This picture was taken at Mt. Rainier, however images like this have been used to illustrate the “Polar Vortex” in Midwest and East Coast cities.

About a week ago FOSEP members got together to talk about scientific communication, a topic that was one of the most requested from our members.  In particular we discussed the distinction between climate and weather.  The Polar Vortex has kept the East Coast and Midwest frigid  Meanwhile, on the West Coast we are in drought conditions.  Some counties in Oregon have already declared drought conditions, while parched Northern California has finally seen some rain. On my recent snowshoeing trip to Mt. Rainier (which are being used to illustrate this post), snow level was below “low” on the mountain.

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Devastating: NIH Releases Guidance on Extramural Activities Following the Government Shutdown

Update: Due to overwhelming negative (and quite angry) feedback received by the NIH from researchers across the country, the NIH released a “Revised Guidance on Resumption of NIH Extramural Activities Following the Recent Lapse in Appropriations” on Oct. 22, 2013. “Responding to input from applicants and reviewers, NIH has reevaluated the plans for rescheduling initial peer review meetings that were cancelled due to the government shutdown. NIH will now reschedule most of the 200+ missed peer review meetings so that most applications are able to be considered at January 2014 Council meetings.” This is wonderful news, and also a great example of how change can occur if enough people make their voices heard! From Dr. Sally Rockey’s blog: “My colleagues and I have heard from many of you since Friday, expressing significant concerns regarding delaying the review of applications to the May council round due to the Government shutdown. Applicants faced with a four month delay in a funding decision described serious consequences to their research programs. Additionally, many reviewers contacted us saying they are ready and willing to do anything to get these reviews done. In light of this feedback, our review staff have risen to the challenge, and will be working with reviewers to go the extra mile in exceptionally creative ways to reschedule as many of the 200+ missed October review meetings as possible.” Dr. Rockey is the NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research.

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FOSEP Meeting Recap and Upcoming Events

It was great to see such a varied group at our Introductory Meeting yesterday.  We had around 31 people, and were excited to see new faces. Welcome!  We had an interesting discussion about communication in science: the ways we talk about / distill research, how science is reported and viewed by the public, and what our responsibilities might be. We also discussed using narrative in science and trying to meet people, respectfully, where they are at.

For those of you who were at the meeting and didn’t have time to write things down, and those who couldn’t make it, we wanted to provide information about upcoming FOSEP and FOSEP-like events. Continue reading

Welcome back FOSEP general meeting is Tuesday 10/8!

Welcome back students, faculty, and staff to University of Washington and happy fall everyone! The FOSEP leaders are feeling refreshed after a wonderful summer break and can’t wait to get started with the new school year. We have some really exciting events planned for the upcoming year and hope you can join us as we promote scientific discussions across disciplines and varying levels of expertise.

Please join us on Tuesday October 8th, 2013 at the College Inn (in the back room) at 5pm. We will be reconnecting, sharing ideas, and learning about FOSEP and this year’s leaders and exciting upcoming events.

For the discussion portion of the meeting (from aprox. 5:30-6pm), we will be learning about how to navigate and decipher clinical trial data and how to separate flawed studies from true information.  The article that prompted this discussion is here – it has huge implications for those of us who drink as much coffee as I do!  But more interestingly, a new paper along similar lines came out in Science last week that is worth discussing, “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?”   We will also be taking a look at this article from 2008 NYT:  Searching for Clarity: A primer on medical studies.


FOSEP End-of-Year Business

While the year is winding down, FOSEP is already looking to 2013 for more excitement.

Please mark the following dates on your calendars:

(1) FOSEP General Meeting: Tuesday, January 8th at 5pm, PAA A214

Our discussion will be led by Renee Agatsuma on STEM research.

(2) FOSEP Quarterly Book Club: Thursday, January 31st at 5pm, Scultzy’s on the Ave.

We will discuss the member-selected book, “Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times” by Marc Kuchner.

(3) Upcoming seminar with Dr. Nick Bond- Washington State Climatologist. This seminar/discussion will take place the first week of March. Details to follow.

Dr. Bond will discuss his experience communicating climate science and his path to becoming our state’s climatologist. Dr. Bond is currently the Deputy Director of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.

See you in 2013!