Science Communication for K-State Faculty & Researchers

Connecting Scientific Research with Communities

Sunset Zoo's Behind the Science initiative is a growing opportunity for faculty, researchers, graduate students and others to further their efforts in connecting their research and expertise with public audiences locally and across the globe. The goal of Behind the Science initiatives is to elevate the understanding of science-related work taking place in the region and advance science literacy. Launched in 2015, Behind the Science is part of the national Portal to the Public Network and has received additional support from Kansas State University's Graduate School and Kansas State University's Center for Engagement and Community Development.

Sunset Zoo's newest Behind the Science endeavor is a faculty/researcher focused science communication workshop. This new opportunity is specifically geared toward K-State faculty and researchers actively engaged in research projects. Funding for this workshop is being provided by an Engagement Incentive Grant from Kansas State University's Center for Engagement and Community Development.

Benefits of Participation in Faculty/Researcher Training

  • Enhance your science communication skills


    through a dynamic, engaging and participatory workshop.
  • Invitations to participate in Science on Tap and other public engagement opportunities coordinated by Sunset Zoo as featured scientists.
  • Connect with community audiences outside of academia to broaden the impact of your research.
  • Gain access to continued support in your science communication and broader impacts efforts.
  • Join a growing network of certified Fellows and trained faculty/researchers who participate in public programs throughout the year coordinated by Sunset Zoo.

Expectations of Participating Faculty/Researchers

  • Current K-State faculty or researcher actively engaged in research or teaching science to undergraduate or graduate students.
  • Complete an official Science Communication Faculty Training application.
  • Participate and complete a one-time, four hour professional development workshop.
  • Participate in at least one, one-on-one planning meeting prior to participating in a public engagement event offered under the Behind the Science umbrella of programs by Sunset Zoo.
  • Provide an open line of communication with Sunset Zoo regarding goals and needs around science communication and broader impact efforts.

General Timeline for  Training

  • Check back for details on future trainings
  • Labs, organizations, or other science/research-based groups can contact us directly for custom training opportunities.

More About the Portal to the Public

Portal to the Public was launched in 2007 through funding from the National Science Foundation and a collaboration between Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, Albuquerque’s Explora, Lancaster’s North Museum of Natural History, and London’s Institute for Learning Innovation. Their work created an guiding framework that informal education sites - like zoos, aquariums, and science centers - can use to build programs that connect scientists and the public. The Portal has since received two additional grants including one through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, expanding the current network to 44 institutions. Sunset Zoo was invited to join the Network in 2015 and completed a year-long mentoring opportunity provided by Portal staff. To learn more, visit the Portal's website.