Communicating Science in a Divided Society

This fall, a National Geographic filmmaker, a science writer and a climatologist will come together to discuss the challenges of communicating science at a time when citizens disagree on so many issues. From climate change to vaccines to gene-editing, at times, our public relationship to science is determined more by belief than data.

Join the Reynolds School of Journalism for the launch event of The Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science: “Communicating Science in a Divided Society” on Oct. 21, 2019. National Geographic filmmaker Vanessa Serrao, award-winning science writer Peter Laufer and climatologist Dr. Stephanie McAfee will share their expertise at 6:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. Reynolds Professor of Science Communication Kathleen Masterson will moderate the event.

Serrao got her start in documentaries working for the Discovery Networks, where her series “Deadliest Catch: The Real Dutch” won a Webby. At National Geographic, she produces films on wildlife conservation, the issues of poaching and climate change in the Himalayas.  She has also produced content for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Science Channel and TLC. Laufer is an international news correspondent. He has sent home reports on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the wars in Central America for NBC Radio and reported for CBS Radio as the Berlin Wall fell. Laufer is an award-winning author who has written more than 15 books, including books on turtles and butterflies that focus on the relationships of humans to animals. McAfee is an applied climatologist with experience in analyzing both historical climate and projections of future climate. She is the Nevada state climatologist interested in developing climate change information to help with management decisions. She studies high latitude drought in Alaska and is working to improve how we get and use data from weather stations.

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Hitchcock Project and the Reynolds School of Journalism. Parking is free for attendees. Attendees must park in the West Stadium Parking Complex on the top-level and receive a parking permit at the parking machine using the following instructions.

  • Press the B button at the top screen
  • Press the # sign along with the 7 digit code (2002166) on the bottom keypad
  • Press OK (D button) at the top screen
  • The machine will then dispense the permit that needs to be placed face-up on their dashboard

The Hitchcock Project is an initiative to prepare students, professionals and scientists to present science in visual and creative forms. The project was established through a gift from biochemist and philanthropist Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., in 2018. 

If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this event, please contact Jessica Fagundes by October 14, 2019, at 775-784-4783 or by email at

Monday, October 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, Wells Fargo Auditorium
39.5433916198639, -119.815739840269