So you’re psyched to get your Certificate in Science Communication. Where to begin?
The best place to start is a careful reading of the requirements. Then download the application. The application is a PDF document that contains all the requirements and can be edited as you complete them, and this (with attachments) is what you’ll submit when you’re done.
Next, consider your time frame. When do you hope to complete the certificate? It was designed for comfortable completion within a year, but you may take longer (if you have a lot on your plate) or shorter (if you’re about to graduate). We recommend making a plan for when you will complete each part of the certificate based on your own time frame. Note that the timing of some parts of the certificate aren’t under your direct control, for example, when you will lead a journal club, or when there will be workshops that you can attend. (The annual 21st Century Scientists Workshop, held every April, is a required part of the certificate.) You may want to leave extra time for these so you don’t find yourself unable to finish in time if they are difficult to schedule.
As part of your plan, we suggest you think not just when you will complete each requirement, but how. Who will you read/listen to/watch as a professional science communicator? What science communication project will you do yourself? Think about what you really enjoy, what you may already have done that you can either get credit for or expand on, and what skills might be useful in your future career.
We are happy to look over your plan, and in fact encourage you to check in with us. Our requirements are intentionally non-specific to allow a wide range of ways to complete them. However, we don’t want you to be surprised at the last minute if the project you chose turns out not to be appropriate. So check with us! We strongly encourage you to join 21sci on slack as you move through the certificate process, and this is a great place to check in. Join slack with your illinois.edu address and you’ll be allowed in. Then post to the #grad-certificate channel – you can either post your question, or note that you are looking for someone to talk to more privately, either on slack or in person. If you’re just looking for ideas and aren’t ready to make your plan yet, we’re happy to help with that, too.
Finally, come to 21sci meetings! (The meeting time is posted on the right sidebar of this site.) These are a great way to get to know other people with similar interests and to stay on top of what’s happening on campus in terms of science communication opportunities.