Kniya’s SciComm for SciOD Reflection

Science communication is an often overlooked aspect of science, with most scientists focusing on the research rather than sharing their findings. When they do share it, it is often coded in difficult-to-understand jargon which limits who can understand what is being explained to them. This is not good. What is the purpose of doing science if what you are discovering is not accessible to be shared with others? 

The main problem when it comes to science communication is that most scientists will act as their mentors when it comes to teaching and leading. This is not necessarily a bad thing if their predecessors were focused on being good science communicators, but if they were shown to “gatekeep” and only share with those who they think are useful there is a high chance that they will not be the best science communicators. Thankfully I have been able to be mentored by great science communicators who make it a priority to share not only their science but that of their colleagues as well.

This semester I had the privilege of taking Dr. Adriane Lam’s science communication course, where I have been able to learn how to be a better scientist, not just in the lab but in the real world. Her class gave me more insight into how to talk to my friends and family about what I do for research and the importance of it. Talking with the guest lecturers, like Dr. Sarah Sheffield, opened my eyes to the importance of science communication by giving me more insight into how just by changing your language and tone, you can communicate science to those who are a little bit more reluctant to listen. Before, I felt it was too difficult to explain what I do because it is not “revolutionary” and geology is not always seen as a primary science, meaning it is a bit unknown to the general public. So explaining glacier mechanics did not seem like the best use of time but now I will try to take caution when explaining my work by using easier-to-understand language and when met with resistance to change my tone so that my work comes across as more understandable.

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