Science education and communication students do not often see themselves as scientists although the future of science is highly dependent upon effective science communication. The purpose of this study was to determine if a science communication course could alter graduate students’ perceptions of scientists and their own self-perception as a scientist. Using a semiotic approach and the Draw-A-Scientist-Test (DAST), participants were asked to draw an image of a scientist based on their perceptions on the first and last day of a 16-week course. Analysis of the images prior to the course indicated failure by students to perceive themselves as scientists. After taking the course, participants depicted being a scientist as a process and described scientists based on their roles. The participants’ failure to identify themselves as scientists before the class indicates a gap in undergraduate curriculum educating students about the diversity of scientific roles within society and the academy. As such there is need for a comprehensive review of course offerings at the undergraduate level to ensure students are not only equipped with scientific knowledge but that they develop a clear understanding of who a scientist is as well as the roles of scientists.
Keywords: Science communication, perception of science, semiotics, students