New Grant Helps Students at Duke and UNC Marine Labs Spread Word about Their Research

November 21, 2011

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

BEAUFORT, N.C. – A new $5,000 grant from the Kenan-Biddle Partnership will support media training for PhD students at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.

The grant will fund “Scientists with Stories,” a collaborative project that will train students how to use digital photography, videos, websites, and other digital media to communicate their research more effectively to the public. The finished products will be presented through a variety of public exhibition platforms.

“Scientific research is full of fascinating stories,” says Yasmin von Dassow, a PhD student at the Duke Marine Lab. “We want to learn how to tell our stories in ways that anyone can understand. Through the ‘Scientists with Stories’ project, we can show the public why we love what we do.”

“Digital media is an incredibly important tool for science outreach, but it’s one that many PhD students have little experience using,” says UNC-IMS PhD student Clare Fieseler, who initiated the inter-campus collaboration. “Since it’s hard for marine lab students to use main-campus media resources, we’ve made an effort to bring those resources to the coast.”

Fieseler and von Dassow’s fellow grant awardees are DUML PhD students Megumi Shimizu and Heather Heenehan, and UNC-IMS PhD student Rachel Gittman. Faculty advisors are David Johnston, research scientist at the Duke Marine Lab; and John Bruno, associate professor at UNC-IMS.

PhD students affiliated with the coastal laboratories will be given preference for workshop enrollment, but spaces will be open to any science PhD student at Duke and UNC. Those eligible will be notified of workshop dates and locations as they are set. All exhibitions will be advertised on the Duke and UNC main campuses and marine labs.

The Kenan-Biddle Partnership awards annual grants intended to promote collaborative projects that enhance the intellectual life on both campuses both by strengthening established or encouraging new collaborations between Carolina and Duke. The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation fund the partnership.