The MSU Graduate Student Award for Science Communication and Outreach is conferred upon one graduate or graduate professional students each year for the exemplary translation and communication of ideas, issues, findings, and advances in the sciences for the general public. For the purpose of this recognition, the sciences are inclusive of the natural and social sciences, medicine, and engineering. This award program is jointly sponsored by the office of the Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement and the MSU Graduate School.


To be eligible for this award, nominees must meet all of the following criteria. Nominees are expected to:

  • Be enrolled as a Master’s or Doctoral student in any one of Michigan State University’s 14 graduate degree-granting colleges, including the medical schools and law school. Individuals in post-doctoral training at MSU are not eligible for this award.
  • Conduct science communication and outreach activities while enrolled in graduate study at Michigan State University, though those activities may occur any place geographically, including internationally. While the science communication and outreach may be related to thesis or dissertation work, it is not a requirement. Science communication and outreach conducted as part of research or teaching assistantships, field studies or practicums, work activities, or volunteering are eligible, as long as those activities meet the requirements for this award.
  • Exemplify effective communication and outreach practices for addressing a significant public need for scientific information, ground in scholarship, appropriate to the context, and generative of positive impacts for both the public and the graduate student. A separate graduate student award for community-engaged scholarship has been established to recognize more highly collaborative partnersip-driven projects/activities. Nominations of students whose work is more intensively collaborative in nature should be submitted for that award.


  • Nomination deadline: October 17, 2022
  • Nominees are informed of selection committee decision: December 2022
  • Award is conferred at the University Outreach and Engagement Awards Ceremony: March 2, 2023

Nomination Instructions

Nominations may be initiated by students, faculty, administrators, community partners, or members of the general public. Individuals nominating others for this award are encouraged to involve the prospective nominee in preparing the nomination. Self-nominations are welcome, and especially encouraged.

Only complete nominations comprised of all of the following elements will be considered:

  1. Nomination cover page (in the online application)
  2. Nomination narrative (maximum of 5 pages)
    1-5 page text that describes the nominee’s science communication and outreach project/activity. It should address:
    • the specific scientific information conveyed and why it is important to communicate it to people outside of the sciences
    • the theories, conceptual frameworks, or best practices that guided the nominee’s communication and outreach methods
    • who the intended audiences/participants are and how the nominee recognized and accommodated for their learning styles, ways of knowing, and education levels throughout the project/activity
    • the extent to which community partners and/or audiences/participants participated in planning, defining impacts, implementing, and assessing the project/activity
    • what happened in the project/activity
    • what impacts the project/activity has had on the intended audiences/participants
    • what impacts the project/activity has had on the nominee personally and professionally, including reflections or lessons learned
    If a nominator is preparing this on behalf of a graduate student, the nominator should work with the graduate student to write this section of the award application.
  3. Nominee’s resume or curriculum vitae
  4. Nomination letter from the nominee’s major professor or faculty familiar with the nominee’s science communication and outreach (maximum of 2 pages)
    1-2 page letter that should address the student’s contributions to science communication and outreach, including the significance of the scientific information translated through the project/activity for the intended audiences/participants; the student's effectiveness in making information from and about the sciences accessible to the public; characterization of the student’s relationship with community partners, if any; impacts to the audiences/participants of the science communication and outreach; and impact on the student’s personal and professional learning.
    This letter should be specific to the graduate student’s science communication and outreach and not a general letter of recommendation commenting on the student’s overall academic performance, accomplishments, or character.
  5. Appendices/Supporting materials (maximum of 3 pages)
    1-3 pages that illustrate the scope and impact of the work and/or provide evidence of its quality in conveying scientific information effectively and appropriately for its intended audiences/participants. Could include such materials as: infographics or other public audience pieces produced through the project/activity; a list of links to newspaper articles, videos, blogposts, or podcasts that mention the work; photographs from project/activity (taken with permission); an additional letter from members of the public or a community partner; etc.

Nomination narrative, support letters, and appendices/supporting materials should comprise no more than 10 pages in total. The cover page and c.v. do not count in this 10-page limit.

All nominations must be submitted through the online Graduate Student Award for Science Communication and Outreach Nomination Form no later than October 17, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern).


Prospective nominees, major professors, department chairs, and interested others may direct questions about this recognition program to Julie Crowgey,