Our Communication Lab teams are always thinking about new communication skills and scenarios that we can help to demystify and support. Find some of our latest resources below:
Quick tips on handy skills and first-hand reflections about communication experiences, from Communication Fellows and community members
- Managing up: how to communicate effectively with your PhD adviser, by CEE members Lluís Saló-Salgado, Angi Acocella, Ignacio Arzuaga García (Communication Fellow), Souha El Mousadik (Communication Fellow) & Augustine Zvinavashe, December 2021
When you start a PhD, you also begin a professional relationship with your PhD adviser. This is an exciting moment: interacting with someone for whom you might well have great respect and admiration, but who might also slightly intimidate you.
- 22.911 Doctoral Seminar in Nuclear Science & Engineering, by Sean Robertson (NSE Comm Lab), October 2021
Congratulations! You’ve submitted your thesis prospectus, which officially makes you a doctoral candidate. Now you’ll be enrolling in 22.911 (Doctoral Seminar in NSE) every year until you graduate. Being in 22.911 means attending a dozen seminars by your peers and, at some point, giving your own 20-min research presentation.
- Writer’s Jet Lag: Overcoming Cultural Barriers I Didn’t Know Existed, by Marina Dang (NSE Comm Lab), October 2021
Imagine two people on the phone. One is in Boston and says it’s “9 am.” The other is in Paris and says it’s “3 pm” (or more likely, “15 h”). Who is right? Obviously, time zones are universally recognized and we accept that this discrepancy isn’t a matter of opinion but of location. Both people are right and they know it.
- What Is Your (Statement of) Purpose?, by Abtin Ameri (NSE Comm Lab), October 2021
Grad school admissions committees have read countless stories like this in applicants’ statements of purpose (SoP).
- Figure Animation, by Hyun-Chae “Chad” Loh (CEE Comm Lab), October 2021
Over the past few decades, we have witnessed an exponential increase in our ability to collect wide swaths of data. In turn, the ways we visualize data have changed.
- Scientific Storytelling, by Linda Seymour and Craig McLean (CEE Comm Lab), October 2021
Applying principles of storytelling to your research presentation can help your audience understand your research problem and why it is important, and lures in their attention.
- Graduate School Statement of Purpose Tips, by Dylan Hirsch, Molly Parsons, and the Graduate Student DEI recruitment working group (BE Comm Lab), September 2021
Not sure what the statement of purpose in the BE PhD application is supposed to look like? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s break it down.
- Introduction to Illustrator and Helpful Resources, by Anna Le, Caleb Perez, and Miguel Alcantar (BE Comm Lab), September 2021
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a custom vector graphic is worth a million! From scientific figures to illustrations for a blog post, the graphics you create can captivate your audience and help convey key takeaways from your presentations and publications.
- A guide to Life Sciences VC as a Bioengineering Student, by Emily Han, Abby Lo, Ellie Feng, Sarah Acolatse, and Sarah Syed (BE Comm Lab), September 2021
We’re five undergraduates who wanted to investigate the wonderful world of venture in the life sciences and biotech space. We’re all Biological Engineering majors in different years of our study, and while the program is amazing in academics and research preparation, we wanted to learn more about the business and commercialization sides.
- Claim, Evidence, Reasoning: How to Get More Value Out of Your Research Presentations, by Sean Robertson (NSE Comm Lab), August 2021
One of the first things I learned after joining the Comm Lab was a framework known as Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER)—a pedagogical tool with interesting applications in technical communication. I was in the process of shadowing a coaching session as part of my Comm Lab orientation when this beautiful piece of communication wisdom was dropped in my lap.
- Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Statements: What I Wish I Knew Before Writing, by Andrew Feldman (CEE Comm Lab), May 2021
You are close to finishing your dissertation and want to continue research as a postdoc. Perhaps you have a partner and you need to carefully select a mutually agreeable geographic location. Maybe you have a PI in mind, but they cannot guarantee funding for you…
- How Do We “Trigger” Effective Communication?, by Julie Logan (NSE Comm Lab), May 2021
The concept of a threshold or trigger is common in engineering. Once a variable exceeds a particular value, another response variable changes rapidly. Signal strength as a function of applied voltage, semiconductor optical response as a function of photon energy…
- Code-Talk for Any Audience, by Miriam Kreher (NSE Comm Lab), May 2021
Gone are the days when obscure, hour-long PowerPoints filled with complicated math results derived alone can win awards. The modern engineer must be communicative, creative, and collaborative to be successful.
- Practical advice for preparing your qualifying exam presentation, by Andrea Lehn (MechE Comm Lab), April 2021
The qualifying exams are an important milestone for doctoral students in MechE. The exam is currently administered in two parts– a subject examination and research examination (RQE). The RQE is a research presentation meant to demonstrate the candidate’s competency as a researcher.
- Writing Strategies from NSE PHinisheD, coordinated by Marina Dang (NSE Comm Lab), April 2021
“Just write, sleep, write, sleep, etc.” Such is the life of one thesis writer hoping to defend soon. He is also one of the dozen members of NSE PHinisheD, a community of graduate students who are months away from receiving their doctoral degrees.
- Here to Help, by Monica Pham (NSE Comm Lab), April 2021
People often joke that MIT made a “mistake” letting them in—a small sign of the widespread imposter syndrome among students. Many of us feel the need to prove that MIT didn’t make a mistake so we try figuring things out on our own, which leads to stigma and shame around asking others for help. Yet, help is available everywhere.
- Questions to Bring to Your Faculty Interview, by Marina Dang (NSE Comm Lab), January 2021
Despite the pandemic, many institutions are moving forward with their faculty hiring, and selected candidates are now preparing for their interviews in earnest. If you’re one of those candidates, congratulations on making it to the next round!
- Giving a Normal (Well, Gaussian) Conference Presentation, by Patrick White (NSE Comm Lab), November 2020
“While I’d love for every conference presentation I give to be the highlight of the conference, I should be honest with myself: most attendees won’t remember any details from my talk.”
- How to Communicate in Grad School, by Mazdak Abulnaga and Deanna Montgomery (EECS Comm Lab), October 2020
In grad school, communication is as important to everyday life as it is to career development.
- Social Media for Scientists: Build Your Brand, by Ignacio Arzuaga-Garcia, Figures by Chad Loh (CEE Comm Lab), October 2020
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.
- How to Ask for Letters of Recommendation, by Julie Logan and Marina Dang (NSE Comm Lab), October 2020
Asking for a letter can be an intimidating prospect so we checked in with five NSE professors to learn directly from them what they would consider best practices.
- How to work a virtual career fair, by Prerna Bhargava (BE Comm Lab), September 2020
Career Fairs are hard. But what about virtual career fairs? Check out our tips for virtual career fair success here!
- The do’s and don’ts of writing review articles, by Caleb Perez (BE Comm Lab), September 2020
Reviews are an important part of the scientific process. And a good way to use your time if you can’t be at the bench. Read our do’s and don’ts for writing a review, here!
- Manuscript Writing 101: Before You Write, by Stephanie Kong (ChemE Comm Lab), September 2020
The most challenging part of writing happens before you put pen to paper. Developing your story’s framework and identifying your audience informs your scientific approach and guides your writing.
- Paper got accepted? Do the work to increase visibility!, by Prerna Bhargava (BE Comm Lab), August 2020
You did a lot of work to get your paper accepted. Now do a little bit more to make sure people know about your paper! Learn some ways that people share their work with the world!
- Editing Checklist, by Prerna Bhargava (BE Comm Lab), August 2020
Working on writing a long document. Use our editing checklist when you think you are done to make sure you don’t miss any details!
- Why You Should Be a Professor and How to Become One: Four-part blog series by Mazdak Abulnaga, Samiya Alkhairy, Deanna Montgomery, & Mohamed I. Ibrahim (EECS Comm Lab), June 2020
Takeaways and strategies from four days of faculty panels and application workshops: 1) Rewards and stresses of the job – 2) Getting a faculty job – 3) Getting through the junior faculty years – 4) Preparing your own faculty application
- Not a Mere Formality – Get the Most out of Your Departmental Poster Presentation, by Crystal Owens (MechE Comm Lab), June 2020
“As one of the organizers of MERE 2019, I had a bird’s-eye view of the poster presentation, the audience, the judging, and our goals.”
- TOC Figures & Graphical Abstracts: More Than Just a Thumbnail, by Andrea Lehn (MechE Comm Lab), May 2020
“Whether you are new to TOC figures or not, here are some tips for generating TOC graphics to entice and inform!”
- Spotlight on Emails and Interviewing, by Prerna Bhargava, feat. Sarah Schwartz & Josh Peters (BE Comm Lab), May 2020
Comm Fellows reflect on the importance of effective emails and share tips for interviewing others.
- Responsible Science Communication in the Age of COVID-19: Blog post series by Sarah Schwartz, Eugenia Inda, & Craig McLean (BE, EECS, & CEE Comm Labs, respectively), April – June 2020
“As scientists and science communicators, we have a duty to clearly and responsibly communicate reliable information about COVID-19 to the general public. Our work has the potential to change people’s understanding, which can change their behavior—which can change the course of the pandemic.” – Eugenia Inda
- Tips for Remote Teamwork, by Ian Andrews (BE Comm Lab), April 2020
“It can be difficult to work in teams. Remote teamwork can be even harder. Here are some tips to help you work in a team remotely and have difficult conversations if needed.”
New & updated CommKit articles
Discipline-specific how-to’s and annotated examples, covering both technical and professional communication. For a full directory of all of our CommKit articles, click here.
- Fellowship Personal Statement, by Hannah Varner and Simo Pajovic (MechE Comm Lab), Fall 2021
- Statement of Purpose for Graduate School, by Carlos Diaz-Marin, Simo Pajovic, and Hannah Varner (MechE Comm Lab), Fall 2021
- Research Qualifying Examination (RQE), by Mazdak Abulnaga and Rohan Chitnis (EECS Comm Lab), Winter 2021
- Grant Application, by Samiya Alkhairy and Eugenia Inda (EECS Comm Lab), Fall 2020
- Virtual Presentations, by Charlie Hirst (NSE Comm Lab), Summer 2020
- Cover Letters, by Patrick White & Robbie Stewart (NSE Comm Lab), Summer 2020
- CV / Resume, by Robbie Stewart & Patrick White (NSE Comm Lab), Summer 2020
- Figure Design, by Marina Dang, Xinyao “Anna” Liang, & Steve Jepeal (NSE Comm Lab), Spring 2020