Communicating in a Climate of Change

Rameses wearing a white lab coat, holding a sign that says "Sounds nerdy, I'm in!" in front of the old well on UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
Communicating in a Climate of Change

Communicating in a Climate of Change


October 26, 2023    
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm


FPG Carolina Student Union, The Auditorium
209 South Rd, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599

Event Type

A panel of science communicators will discuss the importance of sharing research-based information in formats that engage audiences, convince skeptics, and inspire collaboration.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research presents this featured event to highlight the role of communications in research. Investigation and discovery is key to protecting our planet’s natural resources and advancing society. But understanding, inspiration, and progress stem from successful communication of those discoveries.

A panel of science communicators will discuss how they explain complex topics with engaging content across a variety of media, and how their efforts engage audiences in a way that effects change.

CLE credit is available for this event.

Introductory remarks provided by Jim White

Our panel members will include:

  • Matthew Turner, social media manager, National Park Service
  • Michelle Jewell, shark researcher and science communicator, N.C. State University
  • Kerry Irish, director of communications and marketing, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

Panel Emcee: Aimee Wilmoth, WRAL Weather Executive Producer and meteorologist

Opening Remarks

Portrait of Jim White.

James W.C. White | Inaugural Craver Family Dean | College of Arts and Sciences

James W.C. White is the inaugural Craver Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the largest school at the Carolina, with more than 17,000 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

An internationally recognized expert in climate science, White has published some 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, is a highly cited researcher in the field and regularly gives public talks on climate change and sustainability. He was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014.

At Carolina, he is faculty member in the department of earth, marine and environmental sciences and continues to pursue his research, which focuses on past behaviors of the Earth’s climate system, the evidence for rapid climate change in the past, and the dynamics of the modern carbon cycle.


Portrait of Matt Turner.

Matt Turner | National Park Service | Public Affairs Specialist

Matt Turner is a Social Media Specialist in the National Park Service Office of Communications based in Washington D.C. Matt is responsible for the management of the National Park Service’s flagship social media channels, where in between reminding the public to not pet the fluffy cows and sharing tips on the best places to hike, he monitors park and program accounts, develops strategy and guidance for the field, and assists the team with other communication and media requests. Before joining the communications office, Matt began his NPS career as an interpretive ranger working at multiple parks, as well as serving as a regional Visual Information Specialist focusing on web, social media, and graphic design.

Portrait of Michelle Jewell.

Michelle Jewell | Communications & Engagement Manager at Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Michelle Jewell is a science communicator, zoologist, and television host for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. She is a first-generation student and an alum of Mott Community College, Michigan State University, and the University of Cape Town, where she completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Zoology. Michelle is also president of the Science Communicators of North Carolina – the second-largest professional society for science communicators in the USA.

Portrait of Kerry Irish.

Kerry Irish | North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences | Director of Communications & Marketing

Kerry joined the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in November of 2021 as the Director of Communications and Marketing. With a background in marine sciences research and over two decades experience leading communications and marketing in the conservation sphere, Kerry has worked for state, federal and not-for-profit organizations across the country. Most recently she led communications and marketing for UNC’s marine lab and department of earth, marine, & environmental sciences. As a Canadian she is steadfast in her mission to educate anyone who will listen about the importance of adding a “u” to words like colour, humour, and behaviour. Her favourite (see what I did there?) science communications topic is anything involving early career scientists. She’s currently missing the beach as, for the first time in her life, she’s living more than ten minutes from the ocean.

Panel Emcee

Portrait of Aimee Wilmoth.

Aimee Wilmoth | WRAL Weather Executive Producer

Meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth joined WRAL News in 2012. Aimee serves as the weather department executive producer and the 9am meteorologist Monday through Wednesday.