MSL on the Road: AAAS Community Engagement Fellowship

This past week, the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences (AAAS, pronounced “triple-A S”) hosted 20 fellows for a week-long  orientation to community engagement, an effort to professionalize and institutionalize the role of the for scientific community manager.

The Fellows form the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program, a pilot project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which lasts for the duration of 2017. They come from all sectors of science, most with a background in scientific research and a growing task list of events, programs, projects and initiatives for furthering scientific research  and collaboration.

The Mozilla Science Lab was there to support the initial  training week , running workshops on open science and community development through code of conduct development. Here’s some of the cool things that happened, and ways you can engage with these fellows!

Presentation on Community <> Culture Dynamics, by Maddie Grant, AAAS

The Training Week

For the training  week, each fellow contributed lightning talk introductions to their community and their challenges, and supportive sessions were structured around community development, content and communication, and culture change. Guests, like the Mozilla Science Lab, were invited to punctuate these discussions with additional insights which included:

* Community Roundtable – an organization that conducts annual surveys across corporate communities, producing two reports per year describing community management within organizations and the specific skills and professional development needs of community managers * Science of Team Science – an organization that seeks to study and support team-based collaboration specifically within science.

* The Toolbox Project  – an initiative designed to identify and address communication challenges within interdisciplinary teams via surveys and discussion sessions.

Roundtable for the week’s activities at AAAS in Washington D.C.


Mentorship as a Model

Much of the week was structured around mentorship activities, like the Open Leadership Training series that Mozilla developed (@MozOpenLeaders). Each afternoon, small groups of fellows would reunite with the same mentor to talk through the day’s learnings and share resources for follow-up. These consistent opportunities to digest the day’s work allowed Fellows to process the materials in more bite-sized chunks while also talking through their ideas and questions together.

Small group chat on team dynamics


Independent of the size, geographic constraints and disciplinary focus of each fellows’ community related to the content of the workweek in multiple ways. We began and closed the week with small group discussion and dynamics exercises, to help all recognize the different communication styles and boundaries of the other cohort members. From this, we drafted a succinct set of community guidelines here, fork-able and shareable for anyone attempting to unite their community around a key mission and code of conduct.

Community Guidelines development resources


You can find these exercises and resources on this website and in this repository on Github. We copied the final set of community guidelines here, though it’s important to note that these were the result of multiple drafts and dynamic discussion on what this particular cohort wanted to guide their work for the duration of their fellowship.

Website for the AAAS Community Guidelines Session

Get involved!

Interested in Trellis, the C4Sci community fellows, and other resources? Check out the list below and reach out to get more involved!

* Community Guidelines Design Site – a collection of exercises to help draft Community Guidelines for any group.

* Trellis Intro – learn more about the Trellis program and AAAS’ initiatives.

* Mozilla Science Lab Newsletter – we’ll provide updates on the fellows’ progress periodically in our newsletter, join there to read more!

* Meet the current AAAS Community Engagement Fellows – an opportunity to meet this year’s cohort of CEFP fellows at AAAS.

Workshopping ideas in small project teams

A huge thank you to AAAS, our hosts for the week, and Lou Woodley, program manager for the CEFP.  

Thanks for reading <3 the Mozilla Science Lab!