By Habiba Rabiu
Science communication has been a part of my life for longer than I could name the concept. I grew up in a family of science lovers, so reading, watching, and listening to science-based publications and entertainment has been something I have enjoyed since early childhood. Interning at Time Scavengers for the summer of 2022 was my first time creating science content in a professional capacity. It was a challenging and rewarding experience to be on the other side of the words. I learned a lot about myself and what science communication meant to me, namely:
- There are many ways to be a science communicator, from creating short-form content on social media to writing policy. All of those levels are important, and more people than ever are needed on all platforms producing and distributing clear, accurate information. There are endless avenues to explore with science communication, one only needs to be inspired to pursue them.
- As necessary as it is, summarizing research articles and studies in an easily consumable way is not a simple task! At times it felt like I was translating from a language I wasn’t entirely fluent in. It was constantly necessary for me to remind myself of what my intention was with every piece I wrote: to make the information interesting, relatable, and concise. That helped me to focus on the core of the information and organize it in a way that did justice to the source material while still being accessible to those who may not be experts in the subject matter.
- Not all science news and articles have to be shocking and dazzling. As wonderful as new discoveries are, there can be just as much impact in reinforcing simple, close-to-home ideas. Proof that a hot desert is slowly but surely getting hotter is not what most people would consider exciting news, but it’s the job of a science communicator to express why information like that is just as if not more significant as the discovery of a new exoplanet.
- Communication is lost without consideration. While there is a time for jargon and complicated graphics, as certain ideas can only be expressed in a technical manner, care should be taken when trying to reach the masses that everyone has different levels of ability, understanding, and education. Choosing to communicate science means choosing to share information that affects everyone. Part of the job is ensuring that everyone gains as much as possible from what is being shared. Accessibility and diversity are as important to the dissemination of science communication as clarity and precision are to writing it. It is worth the extra time and words to make sure that a key term is explained thoroughly, or the alternative text of a graph gives accurate values.
Writing for Time Scavengers gave me skills and insight that I will use throughout my education and career. I had a great time, am thrilled to have been a part of it, and can’t wait to use what I learned to make the world a more informed place.