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"Scientists and engineers need to be able to communicate about their work – to funders, to policy-makers, to journalists, to relatives and friends, and, of course, to each other. Today, more than ever, people with scientific expertise who can convey complicated ideas to a wide variety of audiences are in high demand! Indeed, the ability to communicate clearly and engagingly with the public has been critical to the success of many of the world’s most respected scientists and engineers."
I fully agree! This is taken from the description of the STS.034 seminar at http://web.mit.edu/sts/academic/subjects/sts034-fa12.html
I believe access to this or similar courses, for all science and engineering majors at MIT, should be actively encouraged, if not mandatory.
Science and technology play an increasingly active role in our society and MIT graduates should be able to engage with the public, explain the new developments, and why they are beneficial (or controversial). Subject-specific seminars can also be offered, e.g a course on bioethics for biologists. Again, such a course exists STS.006J Bioethics (http://student.mit.edu/catalog/search.cgi?search=STS.006) but, in my opinion, it should be included in the Biology curriculum.

Education & Facilities, Educational experiences


Also - more exposure to conferences and policy

I absolutely agree that students should get more training in communication. When I was at MIT (2001-2005) we had CI-M requirements for communication, but they didn't feel very important. I think students would see a greater need for communication if they were encouraged more to attend conferences that come to Boston or participate in conference-style activities as part of class.

Also, students should have more opportunities and encouragement to go to seminars and policy talks that happen all over campus. Undergrads should see how grad students and faculty participate in seminars and attend talks to keep up with the cutting edge of their field. If undergrads participate in these activities more, they will see examples of how science communication is actually used.


In-line with better communication skills is the need to write grants. If the University is going to push to only teach with the assumption that students will pursue a career in academia, then they should prepare them for raising funds for themselves through grant-writing classes.

100% Agree

I wish I had spent more time at MIT attending office hours to build relationships with my professors and at conferences to get to know my community. This would be my first advice to any undergraduate.