Mini-UROP participant Iraira Rivera Rojas works in the Marelli Lab in CEE.

CEE Comm Lab helps first-year undergraduates present scientific research

The following is a modified excerpt from the MIT News article, “First-year MIT students gain hands-on research experience in supportive peer community” by Callie Ayoub. During MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP) this January, first-year students interested in civil and environmental engineering (CEE) participated in a four-week undergraduate research opportunities program known as the mini-UROP (1.097)…. View Article

Transitions: A Quick Tip to Make Your Presentation Flow

We’ve all sat through scientific presentations to find our focus drifting away from the topic at hand, as the patterns in the ceiling tiles suddenly become more interesting than the projected slides. Where does a presenter lose the attention of their audience, and why does this happen?  An influential former art history professor of mine,… View Article

Using Miniature Figures to Enhance Your Conclusion Slides

Have you seen a conclusion slide that looks like this? At conferences, such walls of text are often the cue for the audience to take out their phones and check their email as the presenter hurries through a summary of their findings. In the slide shown below, I’ve provided an example of a wall-of-text conclusion… View Article

From Paper to Presentation: Redesigning Existing Figures for Slides

Scientific figures do not equally suit all contexts. A figure designed for a paper will often be information-dense; multiple panels illustrate multiple ideas, multiple axes and color bars show the impact of numerous variables, annotations highlight specific caveats, and an extensive caption explains the whole thing. This can work well where a figure demonstrates the… View Article

Using Generative AI for Your Scientific Writing? Be Aware of Journal Policies

For researchers, an important factor to consider when deciding whether to use generative AI for scientific writing are the policies of journals. Publishers’ editorial policies on generative AI range from a ban unless explicit permission is given by the editors (e.g. Science) to the more common position of disclosure in the manuscript (e.g. JAMA Network,… View Article

Will Your Article Reach Peer Review?

Most researchers are familiar with the peer review process, though some may be less familiar with the preliminary editorial review process. When a journal receives an article, the editors decide whether or not to advance the submission to peer review. After peer review, the editors decide whether or not to publish the article…. View article

On Finding and Choosing a Postdoc

On Finding and Choosing a Postdoc After years of working on your Ph.D. the end is finally in sight! You’ve weighed your options, thought about your career goals, and decided that a postdoctoral position is the next logical step for you. What now? Finding a postdoctoral position can be a challenging and somewhat mysterious task…. View Article

The Comm Lab Models Mutual Learning: Q&A with CEE Comm Lab Fellow Souha El Mousadik

Souha El Mousadik is a Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate student in the Environmental Dynamics Lab in MIT’s Mechanical Engineering (MechE) Department. Souha has been with the CEE Communication Lab (CEECL) since May 2021, helping out with workshops, panels, and coaching students and postdocs in the department on various science communication topics. What intrigues or… View Article

Meaningful Engagements: Q&A with CEE Comm Lab Fellow Sid Pai

Sid Pai is a senior graduate student in the Heald Group in MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department. Sid has been with the CEE Communication Lab (CEECL) since May 2021, helping out with workshops, panels, and coaching students and postdocs in the department on various science communication topics. In this post, the second in… View Article

Managing up: how to communicate effectively with your PhD adviser

CEE members Lluís Saló-Salgado, Angi Acocella, Ignacio Arzuaga García (Communication Fellow), Souha El Mousadik (Communication Fellow) & Augustine Zvinavashe published a Nature career advice article based on a September 2021 CEE Comm Lab panel event: When you start a PhD, you also begin a professional relationship with your PhD adviser. This is an exciting moment:… View Article
Female Voters & Their Age Bar Chart

A Designer’s Perspective on Data Visualization

As the old saying goes, “Numbers don’t lie.” For journalists, scientists, and designers, these numbers come from data. Data visualizations serve to legitimize claims and have become ubiquitous: flip through a recent issue of the New York Times or the Economist and you’ll find colorful and intricate graphics reminiscent of paper figures. If you are reading this post, you might be familiar with the challenges involved in data visualization.
A chart showing using emojis to show which platforms are used to engage with different users, based on age and format of content.

Social Media for Scientists: Build Your Brand  

To build up a personal brand and have a presence on social media is becoming a must for people interested in developing a career in academia. It helps researchers stand out and increase the visibility of their work. In CEE, a good example of this is Professor Markus Buehler. With almost 4,000 followers on his… View Article

Use the CommKit

The CommKit is a collection of guides to successful scientific communication, written by MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Communication Fellows.