Engagement, Empowerment, and Training

The Jones Center works with partners who want to bring science into their communities and organizations and supports them in using that information.

COVID-19 Pandemic Support

Working with a range of partners including Wells Fargo, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and others, the Dr. Jones Center spent March, April and May 2020 providing expert support to businesses and organizations through a series of Virtual Forums. Further, in July of 2020, technical assistance was provided to small businesses in South LA, where scientists provided expert insights to help small business owners reduce the risk of the virus to help both their employees and customers feel confident they can work and do business there. Additionally, during this pandemic, the Center launched the Getting Through It podcast as well as a virtual Intersection Series with the partnership of URW.

Science Activation Training

Many young scientists want to be more engaged with policy makers and communities. In light of the climate crisis overtaking our world, it is critical that scientists learn how to collaborate in meaning

ful ways with policy-makers at all levels governments. The Jones Center developed and hosts workshops and trainings graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and other early- and mid-career scientists to develop their capacity to work with policymakers. The typical weeklong workshop includes:
1) an exploration of cultural norms for communication within the scientific community and how that differs from the research-based recommendations for communicating with non-specialists,
2) an examination of governmental structures for policy- making and the functioning of elected officials’ offices,
3) development of presentations for elected officials about scientific policy questions, and
4) a day with legislative staff of elected officials to make the presentation and hear from them about their perception of the role of science in government decision making.

Other trainings that range from one-day to a few days are also offered at academic institutions, during conferences, and for associations. This training is also offered virtually via the Zoom meeting platform.

Engaging the Arts in the Climate Crisis

The lack of action to address the climate crisis in the face of the overwhelming scientific evidence that human activities are causing the changes demonstrates that engagement and empowerment sometimes require more than simply understanding the problem. The scale of the climate crisis and the inefficacy of individual action to address it create an emotional response that inhibits action. Dr. Jones and her Center are engaging with the artistic community to explore ways in which the arts can engage with the science to increase action.

Dr. Jones composed a piece of music for a viol ensemble where the data on global temperature increase has been converted into a musical line and used as the basis of the composition, “In Nomine Terra Calens: In the name of a warmin

g earth.” This piece allows the listener to hear Earth’s temperature data over the last 138 years. The Center commissioned a visual animation of the same data from Prof. Ming Tai, head of animation at the Art Center College of Design. These two works premiered at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum “Night of Ideas” on February 1, 2019. With reviews in both Popular Science and Classic FM, have led to more than 40,000 views. The New York-based ensemble, Parthenia Viols, performed the piece in the closing concert for the exhibition Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy: Mare Nostrum, a Collateral Event of the 2019 Venice Biennale, in Venice Italy in November 2019.


National Science Activation Symposium

Each year, the Center hosts an annual symposium on science activation for scientists and other technical experts. On June 25, 2019, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, in partnership with the American Geophysical Union, hosted the National Science Activation Symposium at the California Endowment in Downtown Los Angeles. The day-long event featured keynotes and presentations by noted experts in media, policy, and science, including California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

The Science Activation Symposium is designed to be interactive as attendees are tasked with working together on key discussion points in a modified workshop format. Attendees leave the symposium with tools, tactics, and strategies to engage with policy makers and activate their science. They also gain the tools to begin refining their subject or study area to empower them to further connect with the larger society. This symposium guides attendees to understand the cultural norms and bridging the differences between the science culture and policy world in order to make change in our communities.

Disaster Resilient Cities Initiative

Since its founding, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center  has worked with city leaders in California to increase their resilience. This initiative facilitates hazard-vulnerable jurisdictions at the local level to identify and tackle key priorities that can demonstrably mitigate disaster impacts and strengthen resilience. The centerpiece of this initiative is a program that helps cities create understanding and political will to increase resilience, promotes cross-jurisdictional collaboration at the regional level, and supports specific action-planning and implementation.

In 2019, this effort expanded beyond California when Dr. Jones held the Wayne More Professorship of Politics and Law at the University of Oregon. Lane County in Oregon includes the city of Eugene, OR and the University and has about 350,000 residents. As part of Dr. Jones’s work at the University, the Lane Regional Resiliency Collaborative was initiated to bring together all the jurisdictions in Lane County to increase pre-event hazard mitigation and collaborative planning. Dr. Jones and John Bwarie worked with the Lane County and University of Oregon planners to develop two workshops, based on the successful programs developed for Southern California. Dr. Jones co-led these workshops in Oregon to kickstart the Resiliency Collaborative. The work is continuing with a partnership of the Policy Lab at the University of Oregon and Lane County.


Media Seismic Certificate Course: An Earthquake Training for Journalists

Earthquakes are one of the most challenging type of story for media outlets and journalists to cover. They happen without warning and give you no time to prepare. The audience is afraid and demands information from a trusted, credible source. But the earthquakes are also complex geologic phenomena, and the scientists who understand them – and have information that could be very reassuring – struggle to explain these complex phenomena to someone without any base of information on which to build an understanding.

This certificate program aims to fill some of that gap and prepares members of the media to be able to more effectively find and provide the information the public will need during and after the next major earthquake and subsequent impacts. In three sessions, this training focuses on the Science, Impacts, and Response to an earthquake. More information about the training, which is open to any active journalist or staff member of a news outlet, can be found here.