Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative

Lister Poster 2017-2018 - 2Thank you Teresa and E. Edward Lister, BSc(Agr)’55, MSc’57. Your generosity is cultivating science communication skills on Macdonald campus, enabling more effective contributions to public conversations and policy decisions.



 Congrats Mac 3MT Winners READ MORE

Véronique Boyer - Second Place and People's Choice

Marcus Kaji - First Place

Karolin Dietrich - Third Place

Listen to the Broadscience Podcast workshop feedback




3 Video Workshops on Wednesdays

Mar 21, 28 - 2:30-3:30; Apr 4 - 2:30-4:30 


Media Relations

Media Relations - Interactive workshop 

Monday, March  19, 2018    12 - 2pm



Presentation and Poster Workshops

For NSERC USRA students

Summer 2018


Storytelling Workshop with Confabulation

4 Storytelling Workshops

with Confabulation

October 2017

photography workshop

2 Photography Workshops

with Avi Charszan

November 2017

Microscropy workshop

Microscopy Workshop

with Postdoc Dr. Youssef Chebli

November 2017

Media Relations

“No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.”

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winner in economics.

Media Relations:  Interactive Science Communication Workshop

  • Monday, March 19, 2018  12 - 2 pm  Faculty Lounge (MS2-022)

Participate in an engaging introduction to the communication skills that are essential to sharing research with policy makers, media and the general public. 

  • Maximum Engagement

​ Learning to communicate requires active participation. We will get people talking, sharing and… communicating. It is an energetic, lively and participatory workshop.

  • Multiple Approaches 

We integrate role-playing, group exercises, and peer feedback to hone verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

  • Tailored Content

Learning to engage with journalists teaches one to listen, to make sure the message is clear, and to care about the listener. It all comes down to being a good storyteller. Written press, radio, TV, blog, social media, podcast, and op-eds are all different channels to explain why your work matters, but are also a way to engage with the outside community, general public, influencers, politicians and your peers.

Space is limited.  Priority will be given to faculty, postdocs and graduate students who are highly motivated to learn communication skills and ideally, who are either already involved or plan to be involved soon in outreach related to their research or their studies.

***Each workshop participant is requested to bring the following to the workshop:

  1.  2 objects -  One that is related to your research and the other that is unrelated to your work.
  2. The first 2-3 lines of an op ed related to cannabis growing.




Tell your science story in a 60-second video!

Videography Workshop Series with Michael Manoukian

Motion, sound and the collapse of real time are just 3 of the powers of video to tell your science story.   Participants will explore the multiple angles of video vocabulary piecing together a plan for a 60-second video.  Navigating the joys and challenges of capturing video on virtual film is the topic for the second workshop.  The final workshop (2 hours) is devoted to editing and delivering a 60-second video.  Workshops will be held in the MS computer lab, MS2-028/029.  Students are expected to bring their own cameras (phone camera, or other video camera).

Wednesday, Mar 21 (2:30  - 3:30 pm):  Session #1 - Planning

Wednesday, Mar 28 (2:30  - 3:30 pm):  Session #2 - Filming

Wednesday, Apr 4 (2:30  - 4:30 pm):  Session #3 - Editing/Delivery


 Broadscience-CKUT radio podcast workshops

Listen to our Macdonald Campus Science Podcast on CKUT radio in Mid March.

Are you interested in communicating science in new and creative ways?

Science Interviews – Creating a podcast with Broad Science

Interview your fellow researchers, and in turn, be interviewed about your own scientific research!  Broad Science, an organisation based at CKUT (McGill’s community radio station), will facilitate 3 interactive 90-min workshops to create a Macdonald campus podcast. 

Participants’ will explore key elements of communicating science through interviews and audio journalism. Skill development will include:  creating an optimal interview (i.e., wording, scripting and building rapport), in addition to gaining radio production and recording skills.  

In the third session, students will record their interviews and get a glimpse of the editing/mixing process. Broad Science will finalise the post-workshop editing to create and broadcast the podcast. All participants will have content to share on social media and add to their knowledge translation activities for upcoming grants and scholarships.


Thursday, Feb 8 (11:30 - 1 pm):  Session #1 - Communicating science in the media, how to do it?

Thursday, Feb 15 (noon - 1:30 pm):  Session #2 - Preparing: from interviews to production skills

Thursday, Feb 22 (noon - 1:30 pm):  Session #3 - Recording

  • Class size is limited (12) and priority will be given to graduate students.  Participants are expected to attend ALL THREE sessions.


Who is Broad Science?

Broad Science is an initiative dedicated to making science inclusive, engaging, and intersectional. We are focused on telling science stories from the voices and perspectives that often get overlooked and go untold.

Broad Science aims to provide a platform that makes science accessible for everyone, empowers marginalized communities, and encourages socially-conscious scientific practice in the next generation of scientists.

Lister Family Engaged Science Macdonald Campus 3MT Competition


Thank you to our 13 participants, judges, organizers, mentors, and supporters!

(from left to right)  Dean Anja Geitmann, Véronique Boyer (2nd Place and People's Choice), Mark Kaji (First Place), Karolin Dietrich (Third Place) and Quebec Member for Jacques-Cartier and Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley

3MT Macodonald Competition

Why compete?  READ one competitor's 6+1 reasons...

On January 22, 2018, thirteen participants presented their research in 3 minutes to a non-specialist audience with one non-animated slide (Competition Rules).  Competitors will have the opportunity to participate in the McGill 3MT Competition in the Spring of 2018.  Winners of the McGill competition will be selected to represent McGill at the CAGS 3MT Eastern regional finals, and concours ACFAS Ma thèse en 180 secondes.   WATCH Mariam Saad's 2017 Mac campus 3MT winning presentation.



Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative:   2017 Activities

Lister Poster 2017-2018 - 2









Macdonald Campus 3 Minute Thesis Workshops with McGill SKILLSETS

This three-part interactive workshop series is held on Macdonald Campus (R3-011).  Please sign up with the intention of participating in all 3 workshops.  You will be coached individually and in small teams to develop and practice delivering your presentation.  Students attending this training will compete in the Lister Family Engaged Science FAES 3MT Competition January 11, 2018 and will be prepared to participate in the McGill 3MT Competition in the Spring of 2018.  Winners of the McGill competition will be selected to represent McGill at the CAGS 3MT Eastern regional finals, and concours ACFAS Ma thèse en 180 secondes.

Wednesday, November 22  3-4pm  3MT Info session

Wednesday, November 29  3-4pm  3MT Coaching round table

Wednesday, December 6  3-4pm  Creating a winning 3MT application


TWO sessions on Mac campus (MS2-022) to improve your science photos with professional photographer and instructor Avi Charszan of redbuttonPHOTO.

[Workshop 1 - Photography - October 30, 2017]

From gestalt to copyright law by way of photography composition basics Avi opened our eyes to the power of shape arrangements to command our attention

Monday, October 30, 12 - 1 pm   Photography Session 1

Vocabulary associated with principals of design and composition; examination of examples (from the instructor); techniques to improve raw data capture; understand copyright law, photography consent and safety

Monday, November 6, 12 - 1pm  Photography Session 2

Using student photographs, vocabulary associated with digital file types and manipulation of images to suit a variety of contexts keeping principles of design in mind (re-sizing, cropping, maintaining appropriate resolution); transforming images/data graphics for websites, Facebook, Twitter, posters, newsletters, etc.


ONE interactive workshop on photography under the microscope on Mac campus
Expose the inner workings of the microscopic world

Hands on introduction to the basics of microscopy: physics of light, microscope components and adjustment, pixels, resolution, image capture and processing.   Participants are encouraged to bring their own samples to observe and photograph under the microscopes.  Please contact Youssef Chebli  for assistance concerning samples or sample preparation.

Tuesday, November 7, noon - 1 pm    Room:  MSB-032

​Storytelling with Confabulation

"Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that our brain is hardwired to respond to story; the pleasure we derive from a tale well told is nature's way of seducing us into paying attention to it." -Lisa Cron, Wired for Story

FOUR consecutive interactive STORYTELLING sessions were held with Matt Goldberg, founder of Confabulation:  Wednesdays 12-13:30pm Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25.

What does storytelling have to do with science?

As an art form, oral-tradition storytelling is among the oldest forms of human expression. However, as it feels like something we all can do, we rarely think of it as an art – as a skill to work on. Sure, we tell stories casually, at parties, among family members or at work -- but storytelling can be a much deeper, more powerful art form. We all feel that it is something we can instinctively just do. With practice and preparation, this art form can be so much more.

Storytelling is a transferable skill-set which can help researchers to express and explain complicated or personal ideas. As academics, it can help us attract funding, and to engage with students. It helps us defend our ideas, by helping us to develop our presentation skills, giving us a space to be both professional and human. Storytelling is a way to share the ideas that are most important to us, in a medium that is both accessible, and enjoyable for both the teller and the audience. Using analogy and narrative as a way to get people to understand an idea is an excellent way to make a resonant point. This has been an issue with key ideas of our time – from evolution to climate change, scientific truth needs advocates who can speak in a common, personal language.

The goal of this workshop series is to help you learn to tell your story -- to tell the world about your interest, your passion, your work. One good story can do more than you think. This workshop will help you learn how.


Lister Events Summer 2017

LFESI-USRA workshop 2017

McGill Teaching and Learning Services Skills Sets teams up with the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award winners and McGill Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Beiler Family Internship students to develop students' science communication in the Skills for Today series.

  • Workshop #1:  Communicating Science - Engaging Presentations (June 7, 2017)

The room was a-buzz with conversation and the students responded enthusiastically to Dr. Andrew Churchill’s role play.  This workshop focused on adopting a confident, authentic and lively persona to tell your research story.

  • Workshop #2:  Scientific Posters - Engaging Your Audience (June 14, 2017)

Week 2 and students were applying last week's checklist to a group of scientific posters:  APOS - Know your Audience; Target your Purpose; Organize your story; Deliver it with Style

  • Workshop #3:  Creating short scientific videos (June 21, 2017)

Lister Family Engaged Science Activities 2016


Lister Family Engaged Science 3MT Competition


All of the participants in the inaugural Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition are to be congratulated on a job well done! Finalists (left to right) include PhD candidate Salam Habib from the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition ( Second place; Supervisor: L. Agellon) , MSc candidate Mariam Saad (First place and recipient of the People’s Choice Award; Supervisor: S.Faucher, ) and PhD candidate Mi Lin of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences (Third place; Supervisor: E. Bennett).


Three Minute Thesis

A hands-on research communication workshop series.  Participants learn how to effectively present their research in 3 minutes to a non-specialist audience.














Talking it up without dumbing it down

A three part workshop for graduate students covering Creating a Research Narrative, Oral Presentation Skills and Visual Aids in Research Communication. Offered by Skillsets.  More info on this program.

Food For Thought Lecture Series

The Food for thought Lecture Series just ended a highly successfully 17th season, themed “Myth-busting in scientific controversies: where’s the evidence”. For the first time in the series history, graduate students joined faculty experts on stage.

More info.

Affiliated Events 2016

Wikipedia edit-a-thon: Women in agriculture

October 26, 2016

In celebration of Open Access Week and Wikipedia Year of Science, the Macdonald Campus Library will be the location for a women in agriculture wikipedia edit-a-thon. This edit-a-thon will focus on editing, improving and writing Wikipedia content about women who contributed to agriculture and environmental sciences. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to fix a typo, add a citation or create a whole new article, then this is the workshop for you.

Big words, big misunderstandings: communicating science to the public

September 22, 2016

Science is everywhere. Yet, contradictory information abounds regarding scientific issues and topics. To bridge this gap between conflicting perceptions and current scientific knowledge, more and more scientists are trying to make science more accessible through different means. Five Mac scientists will discuss the importance of science outreach and communication especially to the wider public. They will also share the tools (social and traditional media, blogs and websites, podcasts, etc.) they have used, and the activities (interviews, educational activities, public lectures, etc.) they participated in.

Suggestions or Comments?

We welcome your feedback!  Please contact margaret.forrest [at] (subject: Lister%20Family%20Engaged%20Science%20Initiative%20Feedback) (Margaret Forrest) with any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions you may have regarding Lister Engaged Science Initiative programming.