- Speakers, participants, and presenters
- Getting here
- Contact us
- About Philadelphia
- About Penn
Tuesday June 13
12:15 p.m. Board shuttle from Inn at Penn
(Walnut Street side)
1 - 2:45 p.m., Academy of Natural Sciences
Paleontologist Ted Daeschler and communications and marketing staff members Kathryn Christopher and Brigette Brown will speak with the group about science communications and attendees will be able to tour the museum.
3 - 5 p.m. Franklin Institute
Astronomer Derrick Pitts will lead a tour of the Your Brain exhibit. Afterwards, there’ll be a presentation and discussion on how to adapt science for public consumption.
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Dinner at Abe Fisher
7:30 p.m. Shuttle back to Inn at Penn
Wednesday, June 14
Fisher Fine Arts Library, Kleinman Energy Forum, 4th Floor
All events take place here unless otherwise noted. The entrance is on the west side of the building, facing College Green. It is approximately a 7-minute walk from the Inn at Penn.
8:15 a.m. Meet in Walnut Street Lobby, Inn at Penn, walk as a group to Fisher Fine Arts Library
8:30 a.m. Registration, continental breakfast
9 a.m. Introduction and Welcome
Moira Baylson, Associate Vice President for Communications
Dawn Bonnell, Senior Vice Provost for Research
9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
Session 1: What’s new worldwide? Global trends and innovations in research communications
Based on his analysis of university research communications in more than 50 universities, consultant Justin Shaw will share findings about team structure, roles, methods, campaigns, tracking, and measurements—and generally highlight novel practices from around the world.
Speaker: Justin Shaw, Chief Higher Education Consultant at Communications Management
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Speed networking
Host: Christina Dierkes, The Ohio State University
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Session 2: Pulling back the curtain on the latest in science journalism
Science journalism has changed in recent years, but how? How do practitioners in three different roles—a new media editor, a freelancer for more traditional print media, and a digital communications specialist focused on audio—work with university communications offices on stories, and how can that partnership improve? What’s the pitch process like? And what role do researchers play in how they build their pieces?
Panelists: Ashley Smart, Undark; Melinda Wenner Moyer, freelancer (The New York Times, Scientific American); Alan Yu, WHYY/The Pulse
Moderator: Michele Berger, Director of News and Publications, School of Arts & Sciences, Penn
1:40 – 2:40 p.m.
Session 3: Elevating the humanities in a large research institution
Despite the large role humanities often play at research institutions, they aren’t always covered in the same manner/don’t always receive the same recognition as other types of research. How can communicators spark interest in humanities disciplines as varied as history, philosophy, languages, and English? A diverse panel, including a writer at a research university, a curator who offers hands-on humanities research experiences to the public, and a faculty member responsible for communicating about humanities research, discuss the challenges in this process.
Panelists: Dot Porter, Curator of Digital Research Services, University of Pennsylvania Libraries; Kimberly Williams, director of the Center for the Humanities at Temple, Temple University Moderator: Karuna Meda, Science Writer, Thomas Jefferson University
2:40 p.m. Break, afternoon refreshments
2:50 – 3:50 p.m.
Session 4: Open communication about animal research
A panel of experts explores the importance of open communication around animal research, as well as the potential sensitivities. How should news teams communicate about studies that involve animals, both to internal and external audiences? How can this be done while safeguarding the safety of researchers who work with animals? And how and when should universities talk about the positive outcomes that can result from this work?
Panelists: F. Claire Hankenson, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of University Laboratory Animal Resources, Penn; Jim Newman, Director of Strategic Communications, Americans for Medical Progress; Marc Schmidt, Professor of Biology, Penn
Moderator: Katherine Unger Baillie, Associate Director, Environmental Innovations Initiative, Penn
3:50 p.m. Break
4 – 5: p.m. Optional book club
Houston Hall lobby/patio, 3417 Spruce Street
A discussion of “How Far the Light Reaches” by Sabrina Imbler
Moderator: Noel Rubinton, Writer and Strategic Communications Consultant
5 – 7 p.m. Reception
Penn Museum, Sphinx Gallery, 3260 South Street
The Main Entrance is located across from Franklin Field on South Street. This entrance has a ramp near the corner of South and 33rd Streets that can be taken to the entrance doors and has a power-assisted door. It is approximately a 5-minute walk from the Fisher Fine Arts Library and a 10-minute walk from the Inn at Penn.
Thursday, June 15
Levin Building, 425 S. University Avenue, Room 111
All events take place here unless otherwise noted. The main entrance is off University Ave., up a short ramp and in a small courtyard, directly across from Lynch Laboratories. It is approximately a 10-minute walk from the Inn at Penn.
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9 - 10 a.m.
Session 5: CAR T, mRNA, and telling the story of high-profile science
Innovations in CAR T and mRNA therapies have made global headlines in recent years. With high-stakes, high-profile innovations like these, there’s no shortage of news stories announcing their promise. How can communications teams tell the stories of groundbreaking innovations in a way that’s not inflated, but still celebratory? And how can they tell patient stories thoughtfully and in non-exploitative ways? A team from Penn talks through the process for a couple of recent breakthroughs.
Panelists: Holly Auer, Associate Vice President for Communications at Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System; Emma Meagher, Senior Vice Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; John Swartley, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director, Penn Center for Innovation
Moderator: Michele Berger
10 a.m. Break
10:15 - 11:15 a.m.
Session 6: How to succeed at social media when it’s just one part of your job
You’ve been hired to edit a magazine or write stories … and are also tasked with building a following on Facebook, understanding how to pitch to reporters on Twitter, and creating compelling reels on Instagram. How do you do all of that in a realistic way and get a handle on social media metrics? Panelists tell their stories and share tips.
Panelists: Alyssa LaFaro, Content Manager, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Alex Schein, Director of Digital Communications, School of Arts & Sciences, Penn; Mollie Simon, Communications Coordinator, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Penn
Moderator: Heather Davis, Director, News Publications, Office of University Communications, Penn
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Nuts & Bolts
- Community impact storytelling, Rachel Ewing, Penn Medicine
- Expanding video capabilities, David Barczak, University of Delaware
- What does editing mean to you?, Catherine Zandonella, Princeton University
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch
There will be an optional tour of the Biology Greenhouse, located inside the Lynch Building. Weather-permitting, attendees can enjoy lunch in the Levin lobby or in the verdant BioPond, situated just outside.
1:30 p.m. Break
2:00 p.m. Board bus to Pennovation Center
2:30 - 4 p.m. Pennovation Center tour
There will be a tour of some of the facilities, including a large-group presentation and demonstration from the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. We will break into smaller groups for a series of rotating tours of the Penn Dental Research Greenhouse, GRASP robotics lab, and PCI Ventures.
4 – 5 p.m. URMA Annual Film Festival
Host: Nathi Magubane, Science News Officer, Office of University Communications, Penn
5:15 p.m. Board bus back to Inn at Penn
6 – 10 p.m. Hospitality Suite, Suite 603, Inn at Penn
Friday, June 16
Singh Center for Nanotechnology, Glandt Forum, 3205 Walnut St.
All events take place here unless otherwise noted. It is approximately a 10-minute walk from the Inn at Penn, straight down Walnut Street.
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9 -10 a.m.
- Conducting a Magazine Reader Survey, Gail McCormick, Penn State University
- Getting Your Hands Dirty, Alyssa LaFaro, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- Finding the Right Home for Stories, Erica Brockmeier, University of Delaware
- Using Story Tools for Science Communication, Lewis Taylor, University of Oregon
- Training Scientists to Talk to the Media, Meredith Cole, University of Virginia
- Does your PR measure up?, Chelsea Julian, University of Oklahoma
- ‘Why’ Before ‘What’: Training Researchers to Communicate Strategically, Mindie Paget and Jennifer Humphrey, University of Kansas
10 a.m. Break and Group Photo
10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Session 7: What makes a productive freelancer-editor partnership?
When it comes to hiring a freelance writer, what works and what doesn’t? What do writers need from editors and vice versa? How do editors find writers, hire good ones, make the case to include room for freelancers in a budget, and navigate the university freelance approval process? Panelists offer both the freelancer and editor perspectives.
Panelists: Kim Mulford, Assistant Director, Media & Public Relations, Rowan University; Abbey Porter, freelance writer and editor and former editor, Fox Chase Cancer Center; Christina Hernandez Sherwood, freelance writer and editor
Moderator: Rachel Ewing, Senior Editorial Director, Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System
11:30 a.m Boxed lunches available
11:45 a.m. URMA business meeting
12:30 p.m. Conference adjourns
Speakers, participants, and presenters
- Holly Auer, Associate Vice President for Communications, Penn Medicine
- Moira Baylson, Associate Vice President for Communications, University Communications, University of Pennsylvania
- Dawn Bonnell, Senior Vice Provost for Research, Penn
- Brigette Brown, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
- Kathryn Christopher, Science Communication Manager, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
- Ted Daeschler, Professor, Curator and Chair of Vertebrate Zoology, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
- Henry Daniell, Vice Chair and W.D. Miller Professor, School of Dental Medicine, Penn
- F. Claire Hankenson, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of University Laboratory Animal Resources, Penn
- Emma Meagher, Senior Vice Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Perelman School of Medicine, Penn
- Melinda Wenner Moyer, freelance writer, contributing editor at Scientific American magazine, and regular contributor to The New York Times
- Jim Newman, Director of Strategic Communications, Americans for Medical Progress
- Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer, The Franklin Institute
- Abbey Porter, freelance writer and editor and former editor, Fox Chase Cancer Center
- Dot Porter, Curator of Digital Research Services, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
- Alex Schein, Director of Digital Communications, School of Arts & Sciences, Penn
- Marc Schmidt, Professor of Biology, Penn
- Justin Shaw, Chief Higher Education Consultant, Communications Management
- Mollie Simon, Communications Coordinator, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Penn
- Ashley Smart, Associate Director, Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, and senior editor, Undark magazine
- John Swartley, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director, Penn Center for Innovation
- Kimberly Williams, Director of the Center for the Humanities at Temple, Temple University
- Alan Yu, science reporter at WHYY, the public radio station in Philadelphia
- Katie Baillie, University of Pennsylvania
- David Barczak, University of Delaware
- Michele Berger, University of Pennsylvania
- Erica Brockmeier, University of Delaware
- Meredith Cole, University of Virginia
- Heather Davis, University of Pennsylvania
- Rachel Ewing, Penn Medicine
- Jennifer Humphrey, University of Kansas
- Chelsea Julian, University of Oklahoma
- Alyssa LaFaro, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Nathi Magubane, University of Pennsylvania
- Gail McCormick, Penn State University
- Karuna Meda, Thomas Jefferson University
- Kim Mulford, Rowan University
- Mindie Paget, University of Kansas
- Noel Rubinton, Writer and Strategic Communications Consultant
- Christina Hernandez Sherwood, Freelance Writer and Editor
- Lewis Taylor, University of Oregon
- Catherine Zandonella, Princeton University
The Inn at Penn, 3600 Sansom Street
The Inn at Penn is located in the heart of campus, a short walk away from all conference locations. The room block closes on Tuesday, May 16, so don’t delay in making your reservations.
There are several ground transportation options once you arrive in the city. A taxi from the Philadelphia airport to Central Philadelphia (including Penn’s campus) is a $28.50 Flat Rate. Taxis can be found in Zone 5 of the airport near baggage claim.
SEPTA light rail service runs every 25 minutes from the airport to 30th Street Station near Penn’s campus. The cost of a ticket is $8, cash only, paid on the train. Amtrak trains also arrive at 30th Street Station.
A cab ride from 30th Street Station to the Inn at Penn is under 5 minutes and about $5. The address for the Inn at Penn is 3600 Sansom Street.
Valet parking is available at the Inn at Penn and is $45/day. Self-park lots are nearby and run between $12 and $20 a day.
Please let Lauren Summers know if you need more details.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us:
Katie Unger Baillie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michele Berger: email@example.com
Heather Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Summers: email@example.com
Philadelphia is a walkable city and public transportation, taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts are abundant.
Penn is located in the University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia. Just to the east of campus and on the other side of the Schuylkill River and walkable over 4 bridges is Center City.
This is a very good recent story in The New York Times featuring things to eat, drink, and do. For a more exhaustive list, including an up-to-date events calendar, check out the city’s tourism site. And this is a quirky list of eateries that are off the beaten path.
Founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania has a long academic history coupled with an inherent ecosystem of innovation. Grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and enriched by the integrated resources of 12 schools, Penn is the same university where researchers created ENIAC in the 1940s and developed lifesaving mRNA technology for the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020. Penn offers more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students an education informed by inclusivity, intellectual rigor, research, and the impetus to create new knowledge that benefits individuals and communities worldwide.
With more than $1.1 billion in annual R&D expenditures, Penn is one of the nation’s top research universities, innovating in the fields of medicine, technology, business, science, and more to improve the lives of individuals and communities at home and around the globe. On the 299-acre West Philadelphia campus, Penn has more than 5,000 research faculty and 182 centers and institutes, including the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Price Lab for Digital Humanities, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter.