Although my mom doesn’t realize it, she destined me for a career in science communication. She would often say, “Put your jacket on. You’re going to catch a cold. If you want curly hair, eat your bread crust. Don’t swallow your gum, or it’ll stay in your stomach for seven years.” By age twelve, I knew enough about germs, genes and the digestive system that I often questioned the scientific accuracy of my mom’s statements.
My appreciation for accurate science information guided my development from a cheeky adolescent to a passionate scientist and science communicator. In both roles, I value evidence-based science, transparency, and integrity. Had my mom said, “Put your jacket on. The cold temperatures could cause frostbite and damage your skin,” I might have been more apt to listen.
My passion for science communication is fueled by two things – my inherent curiosity about STEM disciplines and my appreciation for the iterative nature of writing and editing. Even before I was a bona fide scientist, still inflating balloons by putting Pop Rocks into soda bottles, I was curious about new discoveries and technologies, the individuals behind the innovations, and how the scientific successes would impact society.
To say that I’ve always had an interest in writing might be an understatement – my mom was the unfortunate curator of many crayon poems on her walls. As a formal writer who now prefers pens, I revel in the revision process and how each round of editing leads to increased clarity and conciseness. I relish the opportunity to receive constructive criticism and feedback from those who excel in the field, and I enjoy how the integration of feedback from experienced science writers can transform my writing from a mediocre piece into a must-read.
I possess writing and editing experience that would make me a valuable asset to any science communication outlet or news organization. As a science communicator for diverse audiences, I regularly contribute to Badger Chemist and DiscoverRX, the alumni publications for the Department of Chemistry and the School of Pharmacy, respectively, at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. I also write for central campus communications as opportunities arise. In these roles, I promote the importance of scientific research, publicize recent discoveries, and highlight the accomplishments of our faculty and students.
I’m also heavily involved in science outreach in the Madison, Wisconsin, community where I communicate science informally through mentoring, presentations, demonstrations, and conversations (not just with my mom). Furthermore, I do light graphic design and content promotion, including the creation of infographics and videos that help make complex concepts understandable for broad audiences.
During the past three years, I have sought out numerous opportunities to gain experience in science writing/editing. As a technical writer, I’ve contributed to almost a dozen grant applications (a majority of which have been funded), and I’ve written or edited more than 20 manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals. Professors from abroad have also sought my assistance to edit their manuscripts for publication in English-speaking journals. My ability to understand and interpret technical information is crucial to my ability to translate this information into accessible pieces for diverse audiences.
While I still think of myself as less of a bona fide scientist and more of a PhD candidate with lots to learn, I am certain that I was meant for science communication.