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Rick Borchelt


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RICK BORCHELT is communications director for the Pew-funded Genetics and Public Policy Center at The Johns Hopkins University. His work at the Center includes message development, media relations, and strategic communications. Part of his work over the next two years will be helping to develop communication materials to support a $2M/2-yr award from the National Institutes of Health for public consultation on a planned large-scale study of genes and the environment.

He has had a varied career in science communications and science public policy, including stints as media relations director for the National Academy of Sciences; press secretary for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology under the chairmanship of the late Rep. George E. Brown, Jr.; special assistant for public affairs in the Executive Office of The President during the Clinton Administration; director of communications for the Department of Energy's Office of Science; and director of communications and public affairs at The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT.

He also spent a year abroad in Nairobi as executive speechwriter to the U.N. Undersecretary General and Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

While affiliated with Vanderbilt University, he chaired a three-year study, funded by NASA and DOE, on best practices in communicating to the public about science, technology and health. The study, by a blue-ribbon panel of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists, scientists, public affairs officers, and science writers, culminated in the March 2002 conference "Communicating the Future," the first peer-reviewed international conference of its kind. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004, and is a past chair of AAAS Section Y (General Interest in Science and Engineering). He is a committee member for the National Academy of Engineering’s study of public communication about engineering. He also represents the United States on the international working group, Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST).

He is an award-winning (CASE, Society for Government Communication, Society for Technical Communication) science writer with experience in arranging and coordinating workshops for scientists and science writers to help them better understand public communication of science, and is a frequent guest on scientific programs and symposia on communicating with the public.

An undergraduate biology major, he's done graduate work in both insect systematics and science communication. Areas of particular interest developing community based public engagement in science and the Southern narrative tradition as it applies to science and technical writing.

Rick lives in College park, MD.

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