SICB Annual Meeting 2018
January 3-7, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Science Through Narrative: Engaging Broad Audiences (SICB Wide)

This symposium will synthesize new approaches to science communication by integrating narrative and artistic techniques from a broad range of industries. Due to the politicization of science and the proliferation of misinformation about science and its significance, the ability to clearly articulate the importance of science to the public has never been more crucial. The major objectives of this symposium are to (1) highlight effective communication strategies grounded in narrative theory, scientific practice, cognition research, and multiple artistic disciplines; (2) enable scientists to clearly articulate their research outcomes and career motivations through these strategies; and (3) demonstrate that these strategies foster inclusion in science by making material accessible and engaging for any demographic audience.

In conjunction with this symposium, the SICB Public Affairs Committee will host a workshop, "Story art strategies for science communication," led by symposium organizer Sara ElShafie and Daniel McCoy, Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios, on Thursday, January 4, 2018, 12:00-1:30pm.

AMS, Spacetime Labs


  • Sara ElShafie, University of California, Berkeley, and UC Museum of Paleontology, USA
  • Stuart Sumida, California State University, San Bernardino, USA
  • Bram Lutton, Endicott College, USA

Speaker List & Tentative Schedule:

7:45AM - Sara ElShafie, Doctoral Candidate in Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley; Stuart Sumida, Professor of Biology, California State University, San Bernardino
"Introduction to the symposium"
8:00AM - Sara ElShafie, Doctoral Candidate in Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
“Understanding and communicating science as a narrative”
8:30AM - Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
“Fossils, lost worlds, and the Hero’s Journey”
9:00AM - Anna Kipnis, Senior Gameplay Programmer, Double Fine Games
“Communication through playful systems: Presenting scientific research the way a game might do”

9:30-10:00AM - Coffee Break

10:00AM - Glen McIntosh, Animation Director and Lead Character Designer, Industrial Light & Magic
Using narrative film structure and technique to engage an audience"
10:30AM - Eric Rodenbeck, CEO, Founder, Creative Director, Stamen Design
"Inviting inquiry and exploration through data visualization”

11:00AM - Elizabeth Rega, Professor of Anatomy, Western University of Health Sciences
“Visual narrative and jargon minimization in successful anatomy teaching”
11:30AM - Stuart Sumida, Professor of Biology, California State University, San Bernardino; Brian Jefcoat, Supervisor of Modeling, DreamWorks Feature Animation SKG
“Anatomy, animation and visual effects: The reciprocal story-telling tools of biology and film-making”

12:00-1:30PM - Lunch Break

1:30PM - Angela Lepito, Director of Artistic Development, DreamWorks Feature Animation SKG
“The collaboration of feature animation and the scientific community"
2:00PM - Sabah Ul-Hasan, Doctoral Candidate in Quantitative and Systems Biology, University of California, Merced
BIOTA: A mixed-media, symbiosis in action approach to science communication”
2:30PM - Emilie Lorditch, News Director, American Institute of Physics
“Tools for science communication from the intersection of journalism and screenwriting”
3:00PM - Rick Loverd, Program Director, The Science and Entertainment Exchange, National Academy of Sciences
“Improving depictions of science in mainstream media”

Logo concept by Sara ElShafie. Design by Bailee DesRocher. (c) 2017 by Bailee DesRocher. All rights reserved.