Storytelling for Change

The Storytelling for Change Kit

This collection of open educational resources* has been designed to help scientists engage in a reflective and creative process of storytelling, a process that strengthens and grounds scientific identity and positions them for change in the field. These resources and exercises may be used in classrooms, recruiting events, lab meetings, workshops, conferences, or wherever students and scientists may be comfortable learning and sharing together.


  1. Develop an evidence-based understanding of what scientific disciplines do and who gets to be a scientist.

  2. Develop an evidence-based understanding of how scientific disciplines are perceived, valued and misunderstood.

  3. Reflect upon your personal goals, values and motivations in the sciences.

  4. Reflect upon your unique pathway to the sciences.

  5. Craft an authentic personal story that has something to say to a particular audience about what a scientific discipline is, why its valuable, how they can be a part of it, and where they might take it in the future.

  6. Tell your story in a way that has an impact.

Design Support

The Storytelling for Change Design Worksheet can help you with the planning, adaptation and integration of these resources into your own context and practice.

  1. Understand your Science

This module engages scientists in a process of research and discussion about their scientific discipline, what it is, how it is broadly valued and perceived in society, who becomes scientists, who doesn't, and why.

2. Understand Yourself

This module helps scientists reflect upon who they are and where they come from, where they want to go in the sciences, and why. They are asked to think about and share their own interests, goals and motivations, and map out their personal pathway into the field. Scientists listen to and compare pathway stories, and identify unique and common story elements, including barriers, catalyzing events, and surprising misconceptions.

3. Understand your Communities

This module helps scientists understand who they want to engage for change. They are asked to identify a community or identity group that matters to them and with whom they have a connection, and to use techniques of interviewing and autoethnography to examine the relationship between their community, their science, and themselves. Scientists report, share and discuss their findings.

4. Tell your Story for Change

This module helps scientists learn to craft and tell a story that engages and influences a community. They learn to pay attention to rhetorical elements of audience and message, to use narrative notions of tension and counternarrative, and to refine strong presentation skills. Through an iterative, feedback-rich process of telling and re-telling their personal stories for their peers, scientists learn how to present themselves to their audience in a way that can change perceptions of their science, its goals, values, who gets to be a scientist and how it happens. Scientists are supported in delivering their stories at face-to-face events and in developing digital stories for dissemination on the web and via social media.


Ellins, K. K., Boss, S., Bear, T., Eriksson, S., & Papendieck, A. (2019). Creating a Personal Pathway Map Toward a Geoscience Career. Earth Educators’ Rendezvous 2019, Palo Alto, CA.

Ellins, K. K., Papendieck, A., & Clarke, J. (2021). Geoscience Ambassadors—A change-making program that is reinventing what it means to be a geoscientist. NAGT In The Trenches, 11(1).

Ross, C. H., Ellins, K. K., Papendieck, A., & Clarke, J. (2020, March 9). Geoscience Ambassadors Program: Mentoring Students in Geoscience within Home Communities. South-Central Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2020.