The 2022 Virtual Internship Program in Science Communication was spearheaded by Committee Chair, Sarah Sheffield. The Committee included Linda K. Dämmer, Sam Ocon, Alex Favaro, Kristina Barclay, Adriane Lam, and Jen Bauer. The program was intended to be approximately 5 weeks long and the interns were expected to produce 10 blog posts each.
Funding for this year’s program was provided by the Paleontological Society, Geological Society of America, and the Western Interior Paleontological Society. This funding was mainly used to pay the interns and to provide an honorarium for the guest speakers, with none of the funding going to the committee, the mentors, or the Time Scavengers organization.
We had five guest speakers who specialize in different aspects of science communication, with each talking about different aspects of science communication:
- Riley Black is a self described fossil-fanatic and the author of a number of very popular paleontology- focused scicomm books such as “My Beloved Brontosaurus” and “Written In Stone”. Riley talked about her experience with navigating the popular science publishing world and gave the interns very insightful tips on finding and identifying exciting stories to write about. Learn more about Riley on her website.
- Liz Hare is a quantitative geneticist who focuses much of her work on learning more about dog genetics. Liz is an expert on using alt-text for scientific images since she is blind. Therefore she taught the interns what is required to describe images efficiently to make scientists’ work more accessible to people with visual impairments or other people who use a screen reader. Learn more about Liz on her website.
- Priya Shukla, a Ph.D. Candidate at UC Davis, is studying how climate change affects shellfish aquaculture operations within the coastal ocean. Priya spent a lot of time discussing with the interns the importance of thinking about your own identity and including bits and pieces of it in your science communication efforts. Bringing in your identity to scicomm makes it easier for the readers to form a personal connection to you and the topic, making it more likely for them to get excited about the content. Learn more about Priya on her website.
- Kelsey Leonard is a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Nation. Kelsey’s work focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings for our shared sustainable future. She discussed getting involved with informing political and governmental agencies about relevant research results, but also about the importance of making sure local people are aware of research concerning their environment. Learn more about Kesley on her website.
- Edith Carolina Rojas is a professor at College of the Desert. She discussed how to efficiently break down complicated concepts and showed us which of her classroom teaching strategies can be applied to other forms of science communication. She also focussed on how to make science communication more accessible to non-native English speakers.
The committee received 24 applications and we had enough funding to support 4 interns, with an additional intern auditing the program and writing posts. Applications were ranked based on: lack of previous opportunities, interest, and values that aligned with the Time Scavengers mission. If you would like to see the rubric we used to rank the applicants, please reach out! Over the next few weeks you will be seeing all of the intern posts from the internship program released here on the website using the tag #VIPSciComm. The five 2022 VIPSciComm interns are listed below. Click on their image or caption to read all of their posts!