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The Art of Conversation

Good conversation lies at the heart of many collaborations and discoveries. But it’s not always easy to translate ideas to written and spoken words.

At the Art of Conversation, WID’s Distinguished Scholars are bringing in national journalists, bloggers and successful scientists to lead engaging workshops and an evening talk to share tips on how to confidently and expertly portray science and ideas. Whether it’s making an elevator pitch, translating a research finding or experimenting with a science blog, participants will gain real-world skills they may not normally be exposed to in their professional training.

Follow The Art of Conversation on our website or on Twitter #WIDArtConvo.


Evening Talk, April 16, 2013, 7 p.m.

Workshops, April 16-17, 2013, in the afternoons



Peter Greenberg

Peter Greenberg, distinguished scholar and travel editor, CBS News

Greenberg is a multiple Emmy Award-winning journalist, best-selling author and reports regularly on CBS This MorningCBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and CBS Sunday Morning. He hosts the nationally syndicated Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio show, broadcast each week from a different remote location around the world. With a degree from UW–Madison, Peter received the university’s Distinguished Service Award in Journalism among numerous honors, including being named one of the most influential people in travel by Travel Weekly alongside Bill Marriott and Richard Branson. He travels more than 400,000 miles each year, and his reporting reaches millions of viewers and listeners. Greenberg’s work not only examines the logistics and trends of travel, but it also creates a broader cultural and political understanding of places around the world. He lives in New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok and most major airports around the globe.


Steve PaulsonSteve Paulson, distinguished scholar and executive producer & interviewer, To the Best of Our Knowledge

Paulson has written for Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent and other publications. His radio reports have also been broadcast on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” His recent book, Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science, was published by Oxford University Press.




Anne StrainchampsAnne Strainchamps, distinguished scholar and co-founder & interviewer, To the Best of Our Knowledge

Strainchamps regularly contributes to TTBOOK, a Peabody Award-winning radio show, distributed by Public Radio International, produced at Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), and aired nationally.

TTBOOK uses in-depth interviews, storytelling and sound-rich pieces to explore big ideas. Strainchamps is also the founder and executive producer of “Wisconsin Life,” WPR’s new radio essay series. She began her career in Washington, D.C., working for NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered.” She was the first producer for NPR and WAMU’s “The Diane Rhem Show.” Her radio reports have been broadcast on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”


Jennifer Ashton

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, senior medical contributor, ABC News

Dr. Jennifer Ashton is a Board-certified Ob-Gyn. She has published articles in peer-review medical journals and presented at national clinical meetings in the fields of General Surgery, Critical Care and Gynecologic Oncology. In October 2012, she was named ABC News senior medical contributor, and is seen regularly on Good Morning America and World News with Diane Sawyer. In January 2012, she was announced as co-host for the ABC daytime show, The Revolution. In April 2009, Ashton was named medical correspondent for CBS News Network and was seen daily on The Early Show and regularly on The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Her award-winning book, The Body Scoop for Girls, Penguin Publishers, was released in January of 2010, and is a relatable guidebook for teenage health. Her second book, Your Body Beautiful, a guide to health and vitality for women age 30-50, was published in January 2012.


Maurenn MaherMaureen Maher, television host, CBS 48 Hours

Before joining CBS 48 Hours, Maher was a correspondent for CBS News from 1999 to 2002 based in Dallas, Texas. She reported primarily for the CBS Evening News and covered the war on terror, including the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the hotel bombing in Kenya, and, in the United States, on Enron and wildfires and hurricanes. Before that, Maher was a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the affiliate news service, and was based in Chicago. She covered many major stories across the country, including the impeachment of President Clinton. She also has covered the crisis in Kosovo, reporting from Germany on the release of the U.S. servicemen and from the refugee camps in Albania. Maher joined CBS Newspath in September 1997.


Maryn McKennaMaryn McKenna, independent journalist, author and blogger for WIRED.com

Specializing in public health, global health and food policy, McKenna serves as a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. In addition to blogging for Wired, she’s a columnist and contributing editor for Scientific American, and writes frequently for national and international magazines including SELF, TheAtlantic.com, Nature, the Guardian, and More. Her work has also appeared in Health, China Newsweek, MSNBC.com, CNBC.com, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Boston Magazine, Chicago Magazine, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Heart Healthy Living and Georgia Trend among other publications. She is the author most recently of SUPERBUG: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2010), on the international epidemic of drug-resistant staph in hospitals, families and farms, which won the 2011 Science in Society Award.


Deborah Blum

Deborah Blum, journalist, author and Helen Firstbrook Franklin professor of journalism at UW–Madison

Blum is a Pulitzer-Prize winning science writer and the author of five books, most recently The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, a New York Times paperback best seller and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2010. She teaches investigative reporting, literary journalism and science journalism at UW–Madison. She blogs about chemistry, culture (and murder) for Wired at her blog, Elemental and writes for publications ranging from The New York Times to Scientific American. Prior to joining the university, she was a science writer for The Sacramento Bee where she won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for a series on ethical issues in primate research. Blum is past president of the National Association of Science Writers and currently serves on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.


Terry Devitt

Terry Devitt, director of research communications at UW–Madison

For the past 28 years, Devitt has covered the basic and applied sciences at UW–Madison. He also edits and is the project coordinator for The Why Files, a popular and critically successful website about science. Devitt is an active freelance science writer and has contributed to such publications as Astronomy, Orion, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, the Milwaukee Journal, the American Heart Association, the Bulletin of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the children’s science magazine Muse. His awards include the 2001 Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for In-depth Reporting. In 1997, he was the recipient of a Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Gold Award for his work helping to develop The Why Files. In 2007, he was elected a fellow of AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society.


Sharon DunwoodySharon Dunwoody, Evjue-Bascom professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW–Madison

Also affiliated with the universityʼs Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Program in Science and Technology Studies, Dunwoody studies public understanding of science issues and has authored/coauthored numerous research articles, books and book chapters. Her most recent research has concentrated on examining individualsʼ use of information to inform their judgments about environmental and health risks, as well as exploring how scientists interact with the mass media in the course of their research. Dunwoody has served as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Brazil, as a visiting journalism fellow at Deakin University in Australia and as Bonnier Guest Professor at Stockholm University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research, and of the Society for Risk Analysis.


John HawkJohn Hawks photo by Russ Creech, CC-BYsJohn Hawks, associate professor of anthropology at UW–Madison and blogger

Hawks has worked on almost every part of our evolutionary story, from the very origin of our lineage among the apes up to the last 10,000 years of our history. His work has taken him to Africa, Asia and Europe, where he has measured thousands of bones and investigated dozens of archaeological sites. His lab works with the bioinformatics of whole genome sequences from hundreds of living people (and a few ancient ones) to uncover the patterns of relationships that connect them. Hawks is the associate chair of Anthropology at UW–Madison, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) faculty fellow, and an associate member of both the Department of Zoology and the J. F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution. He’s the recent recipient of the UW’s H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship and its Vilas Associate award.


Paula NiedenthalPaula Niedenthal, professor of psychology at UW–Madison

Paula M. Niedenthal received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and was on the faculty of the departments of Psychology at Johns Hopkins University and Indiana University. She was a member of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France for more than a decade and is now professor of psychology at UW–Madison. Her areas of research include emotion-cognition interaction, representational models of emotion and the processing of facial expression. Niedenthal is a fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.




Event questions? Contact us via email or call (608)316-4676.