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  • Real Pork Trust Consortium

Real Pork Scholars Dive into Science Communication Concepts Ahead of World Pork Expo

Members of the Real Pork Scholars participated in a science communication training led by Dr. Katie Sanders to wrap up their spring semester learning about the foundations of science communication and effective strategies for connecting with diverse consumers.

The Real Pork Scholars graduate students stand beside the National Pork Board sign
Real Pork Scholars, Dr. Todd See and Dr. Katie Sanders pose in front of the National Pork Board office during their spring training session on June 4, 2024. Participants from left to right: Daniel Moraes, Abigail Jenkins, Todd See, Carolyn Lee, Lindsey Britton, Beth Stevermer, Isabel Rodriguez, Sudário Silva Jr., & Katie Sanders.

Science Communication Training and Practice

The training started Monday morning with talks from RPTC faculty Dr. Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa and Dr. Shuyang Qu. Masambuka-Kanchewa started our training off with a great discussion about the role of trust in connecting with consumers. Qu highlighted the important role of visual communication in eliciting emotional responses to help connect to consumer values. Sanders rounded out Day 1 with tips for communicating science on social media and strategies for developing a research elevator pitch.

Day 2 included an exciting round of role-playing as different consumers. Each scholar presented their research elevator pitch to different audiences, such as policymakers, mothers, retirees, and dieticians, to name a few. These role-playing exercises extended the scholars’ abilities to connect their science to a diversity of consumers, all motivated by different values. Sanders and training lead Dr. Todd See provided feedback to scholars during these exercises.

A science communication scholar and two Real Pork Scholars speak about communicating their research
Sanders, Silva, and Jenkins work on role-playing exercises to help scholars refine their elevator pitches.

Collaborations and Networking

As part of their training, the National Pork Board set up excellent networking opportunities for the scholars with other pork industry stakeholders, including past presidents of the National Pork Board, the UC Davis CLEAR Center, and State Pork Association members, among others.

The trainings happened in the days before the World Pork Expo, held in Des Moines, Iowa - one of the largest gatherings of pork industry stakeholders in the country. Scholars introduced Pork Academy sessions, highlighting their role in the Real Pork Scholars program and facilitating connections across the industry.


Future Directions

The trainings during World Pork Expo week closed out our first year of the Real Pork Scholars program which included weekly sessions led by See and Sanders during the academic year. Next fall, we will be back with year two with this group and will be introducing the next cohort of scholars to follow in their footsteps!



Thank you to the National Pork Board who sponsors the Real Pork Scholars program, as well as Chelsey Van Genderen and Becky Johnson for providing logistical support and input into the training and facilitation. A special thank you to our Real Pork Scholars for traveling from across the country to engage in this training!


Click here to learn more about what our Real Pork Scholars have been up to this year!


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