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Spark: An Introduction

This year’s special issue on Inclusive Science Communication is the result of a year-long training collaboration on Inclusive Science Communication and Engagement (ISCE). Bringing together the Community of Scholars Program (COSP), the Biomedical Graduate Research, Education & Training program (BGREAT), the Science Communication Lab, and the Community Outreach Retention and Engagement (CORE) program, our collaborative aspired to explore Inclusive Science Communication and Engagement from a theory and practice-based perspective.

While the term Inclusive Science Communication (ISC) broadly refers to approaches, design, and research that brings the lens’ of inclusion, equity, and intersectionality to science communication, our collaborative was specifically interested in what ISC meant for our graduate researchers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine (STEMM) fields who identify as Black, Indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC). The contributions for this issue are created by COSP Scholars who either participated in the ISCE training program or whose research and/or creative work aligned with the mission of SPARK to amplify the experiences, research, and voices of BIPOC graduate scholars. 

The contributions from our BIPOC graduate scientists will also be shared at the Bell Museum in May with the CORE program families – CORE strives to ensure that historically excluded and marginalized students and their families know about the University of Minnesota STEMM programs and are supported in identifying, enrolling, and fully participating in them. We hope SPARK’s values of social justice, community building, innovation, creativity, and public scholarship inspire our BIPOC youth to see themselves as scientists, now and in the future, and the knowledge and research they bring as valuable to their communities both within higher education and beyond. 


The creation and development of the third and special issue of SPARK is made possible in part with generous support from the Institute for Advanced Study’s Research and Creative Collaborative’s Grant; Dr. Danielle Watt, Associate Director of Dept. of Health Career Opportunity Programs, University of Connecticut; Audrey Breland, Director of the CORE program; Michael Winikoff, Director of the Science Communication Lab; Dr. Sunshine Menezes, former Executive Director of the University of Rhode Island Metcalf Institute; Dr. Tiffany Lachelle Smith, Senior Research Fellow at Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates; Dr. Seth K. Thompson, Director of Outreach at Market Science; Holly Menninger, Director of Public Engagement and Science Learning at the Bell Museum; Dr. Rhiannon Williams, former Program Evaluation Specialist at the Graduate School; CORE graduate students and staff: Otiti Mayo, Delina Brown-Jackson, Nawal Maxamed; and COSP Scholars, Selam Kubrom and Marisa Peczuh for the ISCE training program evaluation. 

A special thanks for Senior Editor, Sean Golden, the dedication of the SPARK Editorial Board; Dr. Cori Bazemore-James; Molly Schwartz, Communications Consultant in the Graduate School whose commitment to the mission of SPARK led to the amazing and beautiful design and layout; ISCE Bell Museum participants; and lastly, the COSP Scholars who trusted SPARK and the editorial board with their research, writing, and creative work in order to enrich our communities that matter within and beyond the University of Minnesota.