Deanna Csomo McCool | December 31, 2018
Professor Jennifer Tank, in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Professor Graham Peaslee, in the Department of Physics, were both honored with a Media Legend Award from the Office of Media Relations for their excellence in communicating with the press and others.
Tank, the Ludmilla F., Stephen J. and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, as well as director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her continuous partnership with University communicators. She works at the interface of agriculture and freshwater, studying the impacts of conservation on water quality. Because her research is conducted on “working lands,” her students and collaborators must work directly with farmers, landowners, and natural resource managers to successfully implement projects.
As part of the partnership, she takes great care to effectively communicate the science to a broader audience, and trains her students to take a leadership role in working directly with partners and stakeholders.
“The farmers we work with are not able to wait to see the latest published research, as they need real data about conservation in order to make decisions on the ground, for their operations. They want answers now,” Tank said. “So my students are constantly having to communicate their ongoing work, which is really important to do in a way that is non-confrontational and respectful of the ongoing partnership in the research.”
Tank said she appreciated the guidance by those in the Office of Media Relations as she developed her communication skills, especially when she expanded into writing her first opinion article. But if writing is not a researcher’s passion, there are many other opportunities, she noted. “Maybe you want to say ‘yes’ to an ‘Outdoor Elements’ piece on public television, because you like to do more experiential things; or video is your medium. That’s great — you’ve found your niche!”
Read more here.