BIS 397A: Food Ecology

Art by Natalie Dee

This course investigates the American food system from the ground up.  Students begin by learning basic ecological principals, with an emphasis on plant ecology.  from there, we explore the history of modern industrial agriculture, the commodification of food, and the environmental and social impacts of modern food systems.  Students read a variety of scientific and popular writings as well as critically investigating the myriad documentaries on this subject.  During the course, students also research a  crop or food animal in depth, and present their research to the class.  This class has a heavy emphasis on group work, critical thinking and analysis, writing, and public speaking.

Image by Natalie Dee

BISSTS 396A: Science Communication
Image courtesy NASA

Created specifically for undergraduate students, this class focuses on both research and the dissemination of scientific information to the general public.  Students select a research topic and then write a feature article and blog post, as well as creating a public-friendly poster and presentation.  This class uses improvisational arts and the skill of storytelling to help make science more accessible to a non-scientific audience.  Students learn how to distill technical information, avoid jargon, develop analogies and create pleasing and engaging posters and presentations.  This course has a heavy emphasis on self-directed research, class discussion, participation, and public speaking.

Image courtesy of NASA        

Engage Seminar

This graduate level semin
ar gives students the skills and opportunity to share their research with the wider Seattle community.  During this seminar, students develop a 30 minute presentation about their research which they later present to the general public.  Past venues for these presentations include the University of Washington Campus, Science Cafes, and Seattle Town Hall.  Students leave the course with an elevator talk, a working analogy for their research, and a formal public presentation.  This class uses skills from a variety of disciplines, including improvisational arts, story-boarding and design, public speaking, and communication.  For more information about this course and the Engage project, please visit engage-science.com.