Halima’s Science Communication for Scientific Ocean Drilling Class Reflection

This post was written by Halima Ibrahim, a graduate student at Binghamton University in the seminar Science Communication for Scientific Ocean Drilling (SciComm for SciOD), Spring 2023. 

Throughout this course, I have had the privilege to explore and reflect on various concepts and ideas related to science communication. One of the key takeaways for me has been the vital role of effective communication in conveying scientific ideas and findings to a broader audience. Through this class, I have learned about the best practices in science communication and the various strategies and techniques that can be used to engage with diverse audiences.

The class discussions on the science communication book, “Getting to the heart of science communication: A guide to effective engagement” by Faith Kearns, were particularly fascinating. The author did an excellent job of sharing her career experiences and challenges as well as other science communicators in communicating science to the general public. The book also highlighted the need for scientists and researchers to be transparent and clear in their communication with both scientific and non-scientific communities. Our discussions over each chapter of the book were enriching, as they provided me with different perspectives and opinions from other people’s points of view.

I also appreciated the opportunity to listen to the five invited speakers who shared their research work, experiences, and how they communicate their science to a broad range of people, from the classroom to the general public. Most of the speakers had an extensive background in scientific ocean drilling, which is the area of my research interest. Some of them were involved in outreach programs to communicate science to non-experts as well as the younger generation, which was insightful to learn about their achievements. The peer review process was another aspect of the class that I enjoyed. Reviewing another person’s webpage and providing constructive feedback was fun, and it presented an opportunity to learn about other expeditions.

One of the reasons I took this class was to improve my science communication skills and contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge through creating web pages of past International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expeditions on the Time Scavengers website. These web pages will eventually be consumed by the Flyover Country app. It is fulfilling and humbling to know that someone may find the write-up that I produced in this class useful at some point in their life. The knowledge and skills I have gained from this class will enable me to effectively communicate scientific ideas in the future. I plan to apply these learnings to communicate scientific concepts and research findings more clearly and transparently to both scientific and non-scientific audiences. Furthermore, I intend to engage with different science communication strategies and seek feedback from various audiences to improve the effectiveness of my communication skills.

I appreciate Dr. Adriane Lam, our instructor, for doing an excellent job, especially as it was her first time teaching the class. From curating the course outline and choosing the book for the class to carefully selecting the invited speakers who had a wealth of knowledge to share with the class, she was amazing. I particularly liked the engaging and hands-on nature of the class. Dr. Lam is an excellent science communicator, which was evident in how she made in-class communication a two-way process by transmitting information to us students and receiving our feedback and opinions. The in-class exercises were helpful, and Dr. Lam was readily available to guide us and answer all our questions.

In conclusion, this class has been immensely valuable in enhancing my knowledge and understanding of science communication. I feel much more confident and better equipped to effectively communicate my research to people who do not have a scientific background. I have also come to appreciate the role science communication plays in shaping public opinion and understanding of complex scientific concepts such as climate change, oceanic drilling programs, and various scientific policies. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in science communication, be it to learn how to communicate their scientific knowledge to folks from different knowledge backgrounds or to venture into a science communication career.

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