An Astronomically Expert Media Professor

Aug 31, 2015

by Salma Nawlo | Staff Writer

Over the summer, scientists and media experts congregated to discuss how they can help one another succeed, interact more effectively, and how to make engineering more relevant to the public.  Unsurprisingly, one of those media experts was our very own Assistant Professor of Communication William Allen, MFA. 

“Learn how to interact more effectively with and through the media, how public perception through the media affects the aerospace industry and why interacting with the media matters.”
~Prof. William Allen

The executive director of the acclaimed American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Dr. Sandra H. Magnus, invited Professor Allen to join a forum to discuss the topic of “Advancing Engineering Through Effective Communication with the Media.”

In a letter to Allen, American engineer and NASA astronaut, Dr. Magnus wrote: “The forum will provide an opportunity to take a deeper look at… [how] engineering professionals can engage with an evolving media landscape. Your expert knowledge will afford attendees the opportunity to hear from one of the foremost thinkers.”

The panel was made up of four other media specialists, including Bill Harwood of CBS News and Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel.

“With the recent developments around space exploration and discovery, it was an honor to serve on a panel of such great media storytellers,” Allen said. “The panel demonstrated the need to communicate aerospace and aeronautical innovation clearly to inspire the general audience. Learn... how public perception through the media effects the aerospace industry and why interacting with the media matters.”

Far right, Prof. Allen stands among selected panelists of media experts.

Allen’s experience with communications and the sciences go beyond this summer’s panel.  The May 2014 ODK Teacher of the Year collaborated with chemistry professor Dr. Jarrod Eubank last year on a publication entitled “Energy and Biomedical Nanostructures” for the Florida Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (FAME). A documentarian, Allen also produced a video for the chemistry department, demonstrating metal-organic frameworks.

In recognition of his efforts, AIAA made clear that the advice Allen gave was outstanding and very much appreciated. “Having someone with his expertise on the panel left our audience with great ideas about how to use social media to more effectively communicate their research, work, and ideas to the media in engaging and powerful ways,” an AIAA media specialist said.

A forum such as this one, where communications experts and scientists work together to benefit from one another only demonstrates how a liberal arts environment positively impacts our society and the world.