Communicating scientific knowledge and discoveries to broad and diverse audiences can be a challenge, especially for those carrying out the research. Most scientists do not receive any formal training on science communication during their graduate work or beyond. One of the solutions to this lack of formal training are science communication (SciComm) fellowships. Organizations with a broad focus on science, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as those focused on different types or disciplines, such as the Geological Society of America (GSA), offer SciComm fellowships. These fellowship programs have played a significant role in the general landscape of science communication, but we don’t really know too much about who most benefits from these opportunities and who doesn’t.
Thankfully, the 2022 article “Science communication fellowship programs as gatekeepers” by Nichole Bennett, Anthony Dudo, and John C. Besley, generously funded by the Rita Allen Foundation, sheds light on this network of SciComm fellowships and helps us understand them better. Nichole Bennett, the paper’s first author, also created a comic that explains the article’s main findings, which you can access via the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.