As a first-generation student from a rural community, I am motivated to make science tangible for everyone. I hope to inspire people to trust science and search-out peer-reviewed articles because of problems like misconstrued information in the media. My research is controversial because of its ties to climate change, but I am excited because this challenges me to communicate my work so that everyone understands its importance. This also allows me to destigmatize scientists as being pretentious and out-of-touch. I am also excited about communicating my work with the public because it allows me to motivate our youth to pursue careers in STEM fields. So far I have formally worked on my science communication skills with experts at the Natural History Museum of Utah and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (see below), and I have informally practiced science communication at events in and around the Salt Lake area.

Natural History Museum of Utah

In 2018 I completed a fellowship at the Natural History Museum of Utah in which I worked with my peers and instructors to learn the fundamentals of science communication. We completed workshops, one-on-one meetings, developed public outreach events, and gave public talks.

The Science Communication Fellowship at the Natural History Museum of Utah

National Museum of Natural History

Over the summer of 2019 I was a fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. While I was there I was grateful to work with a science outreach coordinator and designed two demonstrations: one in the middle of the museum and the other a participant-lead demonstration in the museum’s outreach center called Q?rius. In the picture above, undergraduate student Helen Sears and I are teaching visitors about magnetotactic bacteria and magnetofossils.

The Expert is In through Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History

Non-technical writing

What is biodiversity?

Made in Madison (page 7)

Little rock nuggets record climate

Sedimentology: There’s an app for that!


Meet the scientist who uses magnetic fossils to navigate changing oceans

Mysterious magnetic fossils offer past climate clues

New way to study magnetic fossils could help unearth their origins

Please feel free

to reach out!

Contact information:

Courtney Wagner, Ph.D.

Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow

Smithsonian Institution, NMNH


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