RI EPSCoR Research Symposium

This April the Nature Lab participated in the First Annual Research Symposium for Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR held at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus in Narragansett, RI.

The symposium started with a networking lunch for members of Rhode Island EPSCoR educational and research centers and was followed by panel discussions around interdisciplinary collaboration.

The first panel discussion, “EPSCoR at RISD Reflections on Studio-based Research and its Role in Art+Design+Science collaborations,” included presentations by the Nature Lab Director Neal Overstrom; DownCity Design Program Director and Design Educator Melita Morales; RISD Experimental and Foundation Studies Programs Head Shawn Greenlee; Brown University Ph.D Candidate Brian House; RISD Senior Critic Rafael Attias; and, RISD Furniture Graduate Program Director Chris Rose. Panelists shared insights about studio as a tool for organizing multiple modes of inquiry and reflected on the experiences and outcomes from the EPSCoR studios. "The symposium was a great opportunity to share different forms of interdisciplinary collaboration and expand our understanding of the potential in combining scientific and art|design expertise" stated Brian House, co-instructor for the Marine Duck Studio at RISD.

The second panel discussion, “Mechanics of Collaboration— How Do You Create Successful Interdisciplinary Collaborations?,” explored the nature of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and featured presentations by RISD Industrial Design Department Head and EPSCoR Co-Principal Investigator Charlie Cannon; Professor of Marine Affairs at URI Tracey Dalton; Professor and department chairman of the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences at URI Marta Gómez-Chiarri; Assistant professor at Ecosystem-based Fisheries Science at URI Austin Humphries and new media artist Cynthia Beth Rubin.

The symposium ended with a poster session where RISD EPSCoR Communications Coordinator and Nature Lab Operations Assistant Lucia Monge presented on The Potential of Data Narratives to Facilitate Effective Science Communication and Public Engagement. The poster was co-authored by Neal Overstrom, Jennifer Bissonnette, Sunshine Menezes, and Susanne Menden-Deuer and presented work done over the past two years by RISD and Brown University students, faculty, and staff in collaboration with University of Rhode Island scientists.

Data narratives look to bridge objective scientific data and compelling visual storytelling with the goal of fostering broader engagement and understanding around scientific discovery, potentially informing critical environmental policy discussions such as those associated with climate change.

Phytoplankton Fireworks by Hyemi Song

Story Map of local foliage and anthropogenic impacts by James Lipshaw, Kelsey Wakefield, Stephanie Muscat and Ran Shu
Digital animation on the impact of algal blooms – Yidan Zheng and Oscar Robert
“Wanderers” Illustrated children’s book on the role of plankton within marine ecosystems. – Beatrice Steinert
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