Physics postdoc Sean Koebley receives VCU Science Communication Award

May 6, 2021
A headshot of Dr. Koebley on a backround that shows bacteria.

The 2021 VCU Science Communication Award was awarded to Sean Koebley, Ph.D., for his presentation: “Goodbye, P-value: Practical Bayesian Statistics To Replace Frequentist Statistics.” Koebley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Physics Department at VCU where he works with Jason Reed, Ph.D., studying novel methods for detecting genetic mutations using biophysics.

This talk is the third Koebley has been selected to give in VCU Libraries’ ongoing How-to Talks by Postdocs series. His previous talks focused on backwards design in course preparation and strategies for utilizing the scientific literature effectively. His offering in the spring 2021 series garnered the highest attendance at a How-to Talk since the series began in 2015. This talk effectively built on Koebley’s experience giving “how-to” style talks and used the virtual environment to engage participants in deriving and understanding Bayesian statistical modeling. 

"It was a welcome challenge to present this difficult but powerful topic as clearly and concisely as possible, and I am so glad that attendees found it helpful. I'm excited to leverage this experience to further my use and communication of Bayesian statistics in my career." says Koebley.

How-to Talks by Postdocs is a series of instructional talks for the general VCU health sciences community, giving postdocs a unique opportunity for science communication. VCU Libraries, the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research and the VCU Postdoctoral Association collaboratively sponsor the series. These are not seminar talks but opportunities for postdocs to hone their skills by informing the public about a topic related to the health sciences. Traditionally held in the fall, the How-to Talks pivoted to a spring mini-session held online in 2021. “We were excited to continue the How-to Talks in a virtual format, given the gathering restrictions in place during the pandemic. The speakers did a fantastic job of keeping the how-to spirit of the talks in this new format.” says series coordinator and liaison to the basic sciences for VCU Libraries, Stacey Wahl, Ph.D.

Despite this change in format, the How-to Talks continue to be excellent speaking opportunities for postdocs leading to increased exposure, particularly when a postdoc is exploring career moves. Says fellow 2021 How-to Talk speaker Tristan Raisch, Ph.D. “I can confirm that the recording of my most recent talk was part of what got me an interview (and came up positively in said interview) for my new position.” Raisch recently moved into industry after two years as a postdoc in the biomedical engineering department at VCU.


Interested in learning more about the How-To Talks? Talks from the series are available on YouTube and Scholar’s Compass. For more information about the series and how to participate, visit the How-to Talks website. The How-to Talks will return this fall with the application window opening May 15. Direct questions and inquiries about potential topics to Stacey Wahl, Ph.D., at


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