Date Awarded


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Kirk Havens

Committee Member

Keith VanGraafeiland

Committee Member

Creig McCabe


Science communication is a skill that can be strengthened with practice. Like any skill, it helps to know what you need to practice in order to get better at it. When presenting information to an audience, the skill of science communication comes into play as early as the first draft of a presentation. As you think about how you will tell your story to the audience, you likely consider including text on slides, images, graphs, maps, or even videos. However, it is crucial to remember that accessibility barriers are something we must often consciously work to rid our presentations of, in order to make sure we are telling the same story to everyone in the audience.

How you present your research inherently determines the way in which your audience learns and engages with that information. If a presentation has many accessibility barriers, it can lead to an incomplete picture forming for members of your audience. For instance, if a member of your audience experiences colorblindness, they may not be able to get a full understanding of your charts, maps, or graphs depending on your color choices. Individuals that have difficulty with hearing may not be able to clearly perceive your take home messages without captions or clear points in easily readable fonts. Doing something small like enabling captions in your presentation can help more than just those that are hard of hearing follow along, but also audience members who use visual assistance with auditory processing or who do not have the same native language as the one in which you are presenting (Cooke et al., 2020).

This project is going to dive into one of the examples from earlier: maps. Maps used in the scientific community for disseminating information to general audiences have historically been two dimensional, with some exceptions. However, thanks to the ease of access to rapidly evolving technology, turning the story of your spatiotemporal data into a 3D map with 360 visualization that tells a more powerful story to your audience is becoming more common. One use example of this is modeling projected sea level rise (SLR) in coastal communities, which will be the focus of this capstone.

Capstone products:

Included in zip file under Download Button:

  • Capstone paper
  • Accessibility Tips for Scientific Presentations.[PDF]

  • 360 Scene of Norfolk Sea Level Rise Projections.
    [3VR file] Norfolk_SLR_VIMS_CCRM_Data_360VR.3vr

Link Only:

  • 3D Map of Norfolk Sea Level Rise Projections:



© The Author