Three Ways Neil deGrasse Tyson is a Master Communicator

Neil deGrasse Tyson smiles at a talk at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist that has been dedicated to science education and helping people understand his field of study. He has been in the public spotlight for decades, and he has been on television since 1989.  Since then, he has become well known through his television shows like StarTalk. He has also appeared on many talk shows and podcasts like “The Tonight Show” and “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

It is through these talk show appearances that I first became a fan of his.  At first, I was captured by his low baritone voice. There was something about it that was easy to listen to. I also found it easy to understand and pay attention to what he was saying.

I became a fan before I started to study communications. Now as I’m studying the subject, it is clear to me that he is great at communicating. Using Hubell Communications article “ 6 traits and tactics of a spokesperson“ explores the top three ways that he gets the everyday person interested in the science of space.  

  1.  Be knowledgeable and conversant

His master’s in astronomy takes care of the knowledgeable part. More importantly, Tyson strives to keep his language conversational and easy to understand.  Notice in the the following clip how well he tells the story of his first time on television.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I5Fl1Qn-Do&feature=youtu.be&t=2048

 

He makes sure to define terms like plasma.  He describes in understandable terms what an explosion on the sun means.  He explains such terms all the while taking you back to the place and time of his story. He brings in the audience with little details like how he had to change quickly before the appearance.  

2. Be available and open

Tyson’s willingness to appear on different kinds of shows illustrates how approachable he wants science to be.  As would be expected, he often speaks to students like in the previous clip. He is also willing to talk to more general audiences like those he reaches on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. On Colbert’s show, he successfully fights the stereotype of the stuffy scientist. He takes a jovial approach, telling jokes and wearing loud clothes.

His appearance on “Hot Ones” has been watched over nine million times. On “Hot Ones” the interview is conducted while the subject eats steadily spicier foods.  Other scientists in his field may feel that such an interview is beneath them, but since he is willing to do a goofy show like “Hot Ones” he has reached many people he may not have. In between bites of food, he still communicates his excitement towards astronomy and the need to fund space exploration.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains the Universe While Eating Spicy Wings | Hot Ones

Star Talk host, Hayden Planetarium director, and astrophysicist extraordinaire Neil deGrasse Tyson has a brilliant knack for breaking down big scientific ide…

 

3.  Be Genuine

This is where Tyson excels. His infectious enthusiasm for his subject is shown in many different ways.  On video you can see him look in wonder and hear his voice rise up and down with amazement. He doesn’t stand still while he is explaining a concept. He uses his arms and his eyes.  He does all these things to show how much he loves what he studies. I find it very easy to imagine him acting this way when the cameras are off just talking to fellow colleagues. His appearances never feels like a faked performance. It feels like an actual part of himself.  

I think that is the top of what you can achieve as a communicator. In this clip, host Stephen Colbert knows he only has to ask what in science Tyson is interested in to create a engaging moment. Tyson then takes Colbert’s audience on a journey that touches on scientific concepts like dark matter and reflections on the nature of human knowledge. In a short three minutes Tyson shows how he takes his excitement and makes you feel what he feels about science.

 

The Mystery That Keeps Neil deGrasse Tyson Up At Night

There’s one terrifying mystery of the universe that astrophysicist and ‘Astrophysics for People in a Hurry’ author Neil deGrasse Tyson loses sleep over.Subsc…

 

 

With these three traits, Tyson overcame a major challenge that faces many public relations professionals. Often, the subject that a public relations person must tell the public about is a subject that is obscure and boring at first glance.  A common question is how do I make this interesting? Astrophysics is a prime example of such a subject. Through his enthusiasm, his clear, easy to understand communication and his willingness to participate, Tyson makes the subject fun and interesting. He turns  a subject dense with science and math into a subject an audience can understand and want to learn more about.

By Martin Chang

Photo provided by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

My Journey to Public Relations

Picture of a teal typewriter on a wooden table with a cup of coffee, pens and stationary by it.

It was late June of 2003 when my life changed. I remember the day well. It was warm. The sun has just ascended to its zenith and my family was saying their goodbyes to old friends. Aside from the teary farewells, it felt like any other day. I certainly did not expect to part from the familiar vendors at local markets, the chaotic streets shared by motorcyclists and rickshaw drivers, the Mekong Delta that cuts through my little town, or my loved ones in Vietnam to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to an unknown world called America.

The first year in the states was rough. I didn’t know a single word, not even hello. I wanted to learn the foreign tongue to be able to tell the lunch lady I didn’t want the thawing peaches or gray grapes. I wanted to get a perfect score on spelling quizzes and reading assignments. I wanted to make good friends. I wanted to become a part of the new culture that I felt estranged to.

I remember spending every day forcing myself to read. I started with easy books like the “Junie B. Jones” series and Dr. Seuss. Eventually, I worked my way up to more difficult texts like “The Magic Treehouse” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” The drive that I developed from familiarizing myself with English led to my love of literature and rhetoric. I learned the value of language. It paved my way to majoring in journalism with an interest in public relations and minoring in creative writing.

I chose public relations because I loved to tell stories. An admiration for storytelling is crucial in the public relations and journalism field. Public relations practitioners must translate a client’s core message to a public, in other words, telling the client’s narrative. My background in learning a new language and the skill set I gathered from creative writing help me succeed in public relations and being an editor for Tehama Group Communications.

If you share this appreciation and deep-rooted interest for language and capturing a narrative, then give the field of public relations a consideration. Ever since I’ve been a part of the Tehama Group Communications team, my writing skills has improved and my love for language has grown to new heights.

By: Kim Nguyen

Image provided by Pexles

Five Ways to Keep the Creative Juices Flowing

Graphic of glasses of juice

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH – As a designer no good comes of “just wingin it” you need to know your audience, know your narrative, and proceed accordingly! Designs are FUN but if you’re the only one who knows what is going on, you leave your audience confused and quick to forget you…

2.REVISE UNTIL THE SUN COMES DOWN – You almost never nail it on the first try… Change it up, give into that little voice saying throw that text into that hang line. Save each revised version, and continue to revise with fresh eyes!

3.SUNSHINE IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL & CREATIVITY
– Like a bad relationship or tempting sale, learn to walk away. Take a break and recharge your creative juices with a stroll in the park, or even something as simple as a screen detox. Come back rested and ready to kick some design butt.

4.SELF DOUBT DOES NOT LIVE HERE – In todays world of constant comparison this can really hinder design freedom. Compare and contrast in moderation, but be con dent in your vision, always.

5.SELL YOUR STORY – Every element in your design has a purpose, design execution is a difficult and re ned skill, sell us on your work by appealing to our emotions as well as our intellectual and intuitive instincts. 

By: Kelsey Veith

Photo by Kelsey Veith

From Student to Change Agent

Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2018

I first walked onto this campus in 2016 as a transfer student from San Jose State who wanted to study journalism. This, though, however was just a vague explanation that I would tell all the new people around me.

 

In 2016, I couldn’t tell you that I was a first generation college student, queer, transgender, person of color.

 

Living authentically in my identity was put on the back burner until I could feel safe in my new environment. In 2017, we saw the most violent and deadly year for transgender people with 28 deaths, a majority being black trans women people of color. I needed a sense of security before I could open up and share my experiences with the people around me.

 

Now, I’m 10 weeks away from walking the graduation stage. I’m THIS close to being the proud parent of a journalism degree with a focus in public relations and a minor in photography.

 

Through my public relations classes, I have learned ways to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, like my own. I fought and rose through my classes with a fire for success. Now, I have the privilege of writing to you as the social media director for the highly competitive, Tehama Group Communications.

 

I can now reflect on my experience and see how much I have grown within my own identity. I’ve become, what I would consider, a successful student and I’m on my way to being a change agent.

 

I like the Metropolitan Group’s concept of a change agent and the power of voice:

“Voice is a critical catalyst for social change.”

 

I strive to be a change agent. I want to use my skills, voice and power to help empower marginalized communities and their members.

 

As I move that tassel from right to left, I will hunt to find my place in the public relations field where I can make a direct difference to the people I wish to serve.

by Jae Siqueiros

Photos by Jae Siqueiros

Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2016Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2018

How Being a Student Athlete Makes Me a Quick Hitter in the PR World

Anna Baytosh hitting a volleyball over the net

The ball drops.

 

In a single moment, the curtain falls on my career as a collegiate athlete. As my teammates saunter onto the court to wish the opposing team a good game, a feeling of accomplishment and pride overwhelms me, despite my team’s loss in the conference championship.

 

In this moment, I suddenly realize that I have spent the last nine years of my life playing a sport that is essentially a glorified version of “don’t let the balloon touch the floor.”

 

Fear not!

 

I have avoided dwelling over this life-changing event by focusing my efforts on the exciting path ahead.

 

I proudly accepted a job as an account executive and editor for Tehama Group Communications. At first, I’m sure the staff was hesitant to let a Wildcat loose in the office, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve gained everyone’s trust by now.

 

So, in the burgeoning days of this new life direction, I have consolidated my learned experiences as a collegiate athlete into four main skills that have guided me as a public relations professional:

 

 

  • Time management

 

I invite anyone who claims it is impossible to balance a social life, sleep schedule and heavy course load to consider the extra stress of an athletic commitment. Picture juggling these essentials while also enduring a weekly 12 hours of practice, three hours of weightlifting, two hours of analyzing game film and extensive travel on the weekends. Knowing how to manage your time and prioritize your tasks is vital when tackling the fast-paced world of PR.

 

 

  • Communication

 

Whether it is telling a teammate to focus on the game or asking a writer to reword a sentence, effective communication is key. In order to communicate clearly and effectively, you must keep in mind the current situation, everyone involved and all potential outcomes. Understanding how patience, tone and empathy are required to be a good communicator helps me collaborate with clients and team members of various personality types and backgrounds.

 

 

  • Leadership

 

Take this gaggle of girls and help them transition into a dependable, organized and motivated team. Molding the future faces of any program is an unspoken task bestowed upon every senior in his or her final season. In order to be a good leader, you must vocalize group strengths and weaknesses in a direct and respectful way while simultaneously leading by example. This is crucial now that I lead my own team of writers and creatives toward multiple project goals.

 

 

  • Adaptability

 

It’s no secret that coaches appreciate adaptable players who are comfortable performing within a constantly changing landscape. If they tell you to run the darn play again, you do it with no hesitation. Quickly analyze the last play, figure out how to fix it, then execute immediately because another ball is coming your way now. Being adaptable in the world of PR is absolutely essential in an environment that moves furiously fast, where new problems arise by the minute. A happy client is synonymous to a happy coach, and both are integral to a successful and gratifying outcome.

By: Anna Baytosh

Photo provided by Chico State Sports Information Department

Not Filling Her Shoes

Coby stands by her sister’s side, Kayla, as she gets married in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

Starting my journey at Chico State, I knew it would be difficult. Not only because of the curriculum or being away from home, but because I had to fill the shoes of my sister who graduated 10 years before me in the same department. Following in her footsteps, I decided to join the journalism and public relations field where she once made her mark. Taking all the same classes and internships, I became recognized by many different professors as “Kayla’s Little Sister”. This is troubling and can be discouraging at times because of how hard she worked at everything.

Having this always in the back of my head, I tried to set myself apart and make a name for myself within the field of journalism. By taking alternative courses and declaring a minor in communication design, I tried to differentiate myself from her. I am constantly compared to her, but in the end, I believe this is what made me stronger as a public relations student.

PR is so unique and different, changing every year with new technology and lessons. My sister and I are at different points in our lives and I am still learning techniques as a student. We could never be the same or be expected to produce identical work. In the long run, I am truly thankful for having her as a guide and someone to look up to throughout this experience in my life. We may all have that person who will do better in any aspect of life, but it’s important to prove to yourself that you are capable of whatever gets thrown your way and to not get discouraged.

My sister has given me tips and has shown me examples of what it takes to become a successful PR professional. I find these lessons and tid-bits extremely helpful to avoid being completely blindsided by what is to come.

By: Coby Kooyman

Picture provided by Ana & Jerome Photography

Bridging the Gap Between Farm and Table

Pistachios in shell

As the daughter of a third generation citrus, pistachio and walnut farmer, I have been exposed to the agriculture industry my entire life. This lifestyle has shaped the way I see and interact with the world. I am often shocked by how removed people are from where their food comes from, especially in my own generation. I try to educate as many people as I can on the importance of the agriculture industry, particularly in California. However, I am only one person so I cannot reach everyone.  

I was practically shocked by how unaware someone my age was on how food gets from the field and into their local grocery store when talking to a classmate about the severity of the drought in California. The area where I am from in the south valley was hit especially hard by the drought. I was telling this person that many of my family’s citrus, walnut and pistachio groves would likely die if we didn’t get water soon. This loss would be financially devastating since tree crops, such as citrus and nuts, take years to mature to peak production age. My classmate then suggested that my family go to Costco and buy flats of water bottles to water the trees.

This may not sound like a crazy idea to many people but let me put it into perspective for you… to water one acre of pistachios, which is about the size of a football field, it takes about three acre-feet of water per year. To clarify an “acre foot” is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre of land in one foot of water. Simple enough? Now think about how an acre-foot of water is equivalent to 325,850 gallons. This means that to water that one little pistachio grove it would require 977,550 gallons of water…or approximately 7,331,625 Costco water bottles!

Some people get upset about how much water nut trees and other commodities require to produce bountiful crops. However, let me ask you this, is feeding your country and your family a waste of water?

I hate to burst the bubbles of some people out there but no, food does not come from the grocery store! I’m not saying that everyone needs to be an expert on farming practices, all I’m asking for is a little consciousness and appreciation for the people who are working to put food on your plate everyday.

With the growth of the PR industry I have hope for the future of agriculture in California. As PR professionals, our goal is to connect companies to their publics. I hope to use my knowledge of public relations and agriculture to help bridge the gap between farm and table in an effort to connect people with their food. So next time you sit down to a meal take a moment to appreciate the farmer who put it in front of you.

By: Abby Peltzer

Photo provided by Pexels.com

How My Love of Storytelling Evolved Into A Passion for PR

Writing on notebook and books spread on the table

The frost is melting, the flowers are blooming and birds are singing. This can only mean one thing, spring is just around the corner. For many people this means it’s time for picnicking, kite flying and the annual closet cleaning. But for many graduating seniors, like myself, it is time to start thinking about your future and take some time to reflect on the past.

 

Four years ago when I was desperately trying to figure which major was the right one for me. I had already decided that Chico State was the perfect fit for my school but I struggled with committing to one field of study. I did what any stressed and confused seventeen year old would do, I made a list.

 

On this list I wrote down things I was good at, things I liked doing and useful skills I thought could be applied to a career.

 

My most prominent strength has always been writing. I started telling fictional stories before I could even write the alphabet. As a toddler I employed my mom as my own personal scribe to write these stories for me. As I grew older I realized how incredible the power of storytelling truly is. It can create worlds, birth characters and shape the intellectual minds of society.

 

I knew that storytelling needed to be a major part of my future. I was also good at organizing, juggling multiple commitments and rallying groups of people together. But what else was I good at? I could talk to people with ease and loved to help those in need. Could these attributes really be applied to a major? Apparently, yes.

 

To my surprise and delight, I found public relations, a field of study that perfectly combined all of my strengths.

 

PR uses unique methods to produce a story worthy of attention. It helps companies who have something important to say find their voice. After graduating in May, I hope to work for an organization that is dedicated to changing the world for the better. This is the ideal way I wish to exercise my love of helping others and use the skill set I have developed through Tehama Group Communications.

 

It can be difficult to focus on writing when life gets busy. Whether it be school assignments, shifts at work or your pesky Calico kitty using your notebook as a bed, make time to indulge your creative side.

By choosing a major in Journalism with a focus in public relations and a minor in creative writing I have been fortunate enough to be able to combine my education with my passion.

 

I feel lucky to have found a career path that has allowed me to interact with people daily, organize events, brainstorm ideas and of course, tell stories.

By: Alisa Thorsen

Both images provided by Alisa Thorsen

Flying Feelings

A plane flying through clouds with a sunset in distance.

Can you imagine your body being forced back into its chair, as an invisible weight is pushing you down further and further? You peek out the small, round window as the world around you races by. The passenger next to you shifts to look out the window as well, blocking your view. Forced to just feel, you can sense your body lifting upward. Now reclined in your chair, your head facing toward the heavens, the feeling of total lift gives you pause. Weightless. Free. Flight.

 

I was able to calculate how many times I’ve had this experience at over 150 in the year 2017 alone. Every time I went through the process of flying anywhere, I found that I had new experiences and new skills.  The following is a list of the top four skills I was to gather while traveling:

 

Organization: The amount of organizational skill that goes into packing a single, carry-on suitcase meant to hold a week’s worth of clothes is on par to playing advanced tetris.

 

Time Management: When you’re traveling with a family of five, you need to know how to plan out how long it takes to get to the airport, print tickets, go through security, find the gate and have spare time in case of a mishap somewhere in between. Not to mention the need to be there 30 minutes before the plane takes off, as that is usually the time when the boarding process begins.

 

Patience: Not only can finding the right plane and price be frustrating, but the line for security can take up time and patience, especially when the anxiety of not making it on time to your flight is involved. This is in addition to the patience one sometimes needs when you’re on the plane and may not be next your ideal seat-mate.  

 

Communication: When dealing with airlines and airports you’re not entirely familiar with, it’s always best to be able to thoroughly communicate with signs and employees. The need for directions, services and idle chats can become important in settings where you’re dealing with time-sensitive transportation.  

 

While this is not an exhaustive list of the things I have learned from my travels, it does give indication to my ability to learn, adapt and read my surroundings. These are the fundamental elements that I believe are key to a successful career in public relations.  They are also key to improving myself not just on the planes I fly on, but in everyday situations.

By: Holly Kraeber

Photo provided by: Holly Kraeber