Science Communicators of North Carolina

Science Communicators of North Carolina (SCONC)

  • Service Area: North Carolina
  • Established: April 2007
  • Website: https://www.sconc.org
  • Twitter: @sconc
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sconcarolina/
  • Contact Email: https://www.sconc.org/contact/

Group Details

Mission and Vision Statement:

SCONC is a volunteer organization that connects science communicators and cultivates a love of science across North Carolina. We welcome anyone who is interested in science communication to become a member of SCONC. We develop, support, and promote high-quality science communication through digital media and social and professional gatherings.

Operations: A board of directors oversees the operations of SCONC. Each board member is responsible for an aspect of running the organization, including website development and maintenance, social media communications, event planning and development and other functions.

Funding: The majority of our operating funds come from an independent grant. We also partner with NC Biotech Center as an exchange group. NC Biotech Center provides facilities for meetings and events as well as provides a small grant to support programming. We will begin charging membership dues in February 2020.

Membership: We have an informal membership through our Listserv, Twitter, and Facebook, with a core group of members who provide most of the volunteer work. The membership will become more formal when SCONC members begin paying dues in February 2020.

Programming: Our Science in the Movies programs continue to be well attended and lots of fun. This signature biannual event serves as our public outreach event. We held several Drink N Think professional development events as well as several networking events at ball parks or museums. Our events increased over previous years but not substantially.

Successes and Challenges

Three Successes:

  1. Our biggest accomplishment was formalizing the structure of our organization. This was an important step in continuing to grow SCONC in a more organized and meaningful way. During the process we also formalized our mission and vision statements.
  2. We received a renewal grant to support much of our programming and found a new partnership with the NC Biotech Center, which also provided additional program funding.
  3. We added new people to our board of directors, increasing our capabilities in the areas of social media and website design.

Three Challenges:

  1. Our website redesign did not go as planned, resulting in a website that was barely functional and did not reflect the organization well. We brought on a new board member who has experience in website design, and now have a beautiful new website that showcases not only our own programming, but any science communication events in the area.
  2. Geography remains one of our biggest challenges. Though most of our members are located in the Triangle, they are spread between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, meaning that there is no one location for our events that would be easily accessible to all our members.
  3. Some of our events have not been as well attended as we would have liked, so we continue to look for ways to better engage our members.

About the Region

North Carolina is a historically agrarian state that has turned high-tech, home to Research Triangle Park and 125 colleges and universities, including UNC, Duke, and NC State.

Geographic Setting: Located on the Atlantic coast of the US, North Carolina is known for its high tech economy as well as its beautiful geography. The Outer Banks area of the state offers 200 miles of barrier islands that include the historic Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The piedmont area includes the Research Triangle Park and environs that boasts high tech industry and three major universities. The state is also home to the Appalachian mountains, which includes a portion of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the US.

Media Community:

Science Community: The Research Triangle Park (RTP) area of North Carolina has one of the highest concentrations of PhDs in the nation and is home to three major research universities--Duke University, NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill--as well as RTI International, a nonprofit research and technical services institute. In addition, many of the tenants of the RTP are research focused, as are many start-ups and entrepreneurial companies in the surrounding area.