News Release

BU researcher to present at AAAS 2014 annual meeting in Chicago

Dr. Raquell M. Holmes to speak at 'Improvisation for Scientists: Making a Human Connection' panel discussion

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Boston University

BOSTON – Dr. Raquell Holmes, an assistant research professor at Boston University's Center for Computational Science, will be a featured presenter at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, February 15, 2014. Dr. Holmes will participate in a panel session titled, "Improvisation for Scientists: Making a Human Connection" on February 16, 2014 at 9:15 am.

Efforts to "communicate science" have been a rallying cry from governmental agencies, elected officials and citizens in need of accurate and accessible information in order to have responsible dialog and make clear decisions. "In addition to talking about our science, we need to be able to communicate our science in ways that bring people into our work as colleagues, collaborators and disruptive innovators," Dr. Holmes said.

Since joining the Center for Computational Science in 2003, Dr. Holmes has been building diverse communities in the area of computational science. Her focus is on increasing the participation of women and minorities in the sciences and in this context, she began doing improvisation with computational scientists at conferences. Her first improvisational session in 2008 was dedicated to talking about being women and minorities in the field of high performance computing.

As a result, Dr. Holmes created improvscience in 2010 to increase collaboration among computing and science professionals. Through the process of improvisation, improvscience encourages groups to move past initial hesitance to produce new scientific conversations and solutions.

Earlier this month, improvscience was the focus of an article in Nature, the leading international, weekly scientific journal. The article, "Communication: Spontaneous scientists" is featured in the NatureJobs section of the journal, and highlights the work of improvscience and Dr. Holmes. The piece offers clear examples of the types of training and workshops improvscience offers and provides insight from participants on how the company's work has reshaped the way in which they work.

For improvscience, the Nature article represents important recognition of the issues and solutions in communication for scientists and researchers. "I believe this is the beginning of a continued, serious look at efforts to communicate science, as too often collaborative efforts are ignored, dismissed, or encouraged without practice," said Dr. Holmes. "Communicating science is critical for the advancement of science and the ability of our country to make use of what science is able to produce."

Being featured in Nature kickstarts an exciting year for Dr. Holmes. In addition to the the AAAS panel, Dr. Holmes will host a panel, "Building a career for you: An improvisational art and practice," at the Tapia Conference in Seattle. In March, improvscience is offering professional workshops at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. Later in the year, Dr. Holmes will lead a workshop at the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) Summit.


Improvscience and Dr. Holmes are available for media requests, interviews, workshops, and other speaking engagements. Please contact Dr. Holmes at

About Dr. Raquell M. Holmes:

Dr. Raquell M. Holmes is an Assistant Research Professor with appointments at the Center for Computational Sciences at Boston University and the Mathematical Computational Modeling Sciences Center of Arizona State University, where she is an adjunct associate professor. She has more than 15 years of experience training biologists to incorporate computing and computational resources into their teaching and research. She founded improvscience to provide scientists with opportunities to develop skills in leadership, collaboration and innovation. She draws on a national network of scientists, educators and performers to develop and deliver innovative trainings and products that push the boundaries of what we are able to do in science.

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