Utilizing all modes of communication to disseminate science.
During a time when information and misinformation can be spread with the click of a button, it is more necessary than ever for scientists to join the conversation. At the same time, it has become increasingly important for all individuals to rise up in support of science. Therefore, it is imperative that scientists help spread the word about how science effects, enriches, and advances our lives.
Read below to learn about some of my science media products that I’ve developed over my career as a scientist, science communicator, and educator.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Voice of America Science Reporter
In 2011, I was awarded the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship, the program I would one year later go to direct after graduate school. The 10-week summer program places science, engineering, and mathematics students at media organizations nationwide to work as reporters, editors, and producers, sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to the public. This fellowship had been a long-term goal of mine, and after contending with summers busy with scientific fieldwork, I finally had the opportunity to apply near the end of my Ph.D. My application was accepted, and the American Geophysical Union generously funded my placement with Voice of America in DC (my heart was ready to burst!). I used every moment of my Fellowship to learn from my colleagues at Voice of America. It is still, to this day, the greatest and most educational summer of my life.
Watch what past AGU Mass Media Fellows, including myself, have to say about their experience as a Mass Media Fellow.
During my summer as an AGU Mass Media Fellow at Voice of America, I used my academic training in the sciences to research, write, edit, voice, and produce online and audio feature stories covering science from around the globe and reaching an international audience of 236.8 million. In addition to working on my own stories, I helped contribute to numerous other feature stories, both in radio and video. I attended press briefings, Capitol Hill events, conferences, rallies, and several science communication trainings during my summer. As a result, I successfully converted advance science concepts into science accessible to the general public, including members of the non-English speaking world. Topics ranged in and out of my field of expertise—from binge drinking and brain damage to threats to deep-sea ecosystems.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Carnegie Institution for Science
Social Media Campaigns
Directing my own programs at AAAS, social media management was a key aspect of my work. I was fortunate to engage a team of social media strategists from across the organization who helped successfully launch a variety of social media campaigns. Once I moved to Carnegie Science, it was clear their social media team was unparalleled. I had the privilege of working with them on a few social media campaigns that supported and complemented the programs I managed.
American Association for the Advancement of Science I ran all of the social media accounts that fell under my purview within my position at AAAS including the Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program. Prior to my tenure, they did not use Twitter and only minimally utilized the Facebook account. Within AAAS, I pioneered the use of social media was used as a marketing tool to promote the Fellowship, the Spanish Language Mass Media Fellows Program, Minority Science Writers Interns Program, and the Award for Public Engagement with Science. All major AAAS accounts (over 3.5 million non-unique Facebook followers and 475,000 Twitter followers) promoted the Fellowship, Internship, and Award via Facebook and Twitter. In addition, all program alumni, sponsors, host sites, and committee members were sent sample Facebook and Twitter posts and encouraged to participate in promotion.
My first tweet promoting the Award for Public Engagement with Science (below) had 11,723 impressions and 170 engagements. My efforts, through social media and mailings, translated a quadrupling of submissions from my first year managing the award.
Carnegie Institution for Science All of the programs I managed incorporated social media in one form or another, therefore, I frequently collaborated with the communications team—some of the best social media strategists I've ever had the pleasure of working with—to plan our social media campaigns. For example, we worked on March for Science quote boxes from investigators and staff (as shown above). This included some of the 26 tweets that were retweeted by the official March for Science social accounts as part of our official partnership agreement that resulted in 1.5 million total impressions for the Institution.
I also worked with the social media team on posts promoting all events associated with Carnegie Science, such as Expedition Earth. In addition, social media was incorporated into our partnership terms that I created for all partnered programs, which you can learn more about here. In addition, a suite of new approaches was introduced to promote Carnegie's Capital Science Evenings online. One such approach included short, fast-paced video teasers published in the days leading up to the lecture. A second was a FacebookLive interview with the speaker one hour before the start of the lecture designed to draw followers to the lecture's live broadcast. Examples of both are provided below.
We were #Live with Stanford University's Kwabena Boahen talking about #BrainComputers, intuition and learning, #SciFi movie robots, the #science of #communication and so much more! Plus, three students from The Sankofa Global Project traveled all the way from New York to meet him and ask questions about #STEM education and “garage neuroscience.”
In 2006, on the anniversary of The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, MSNBC broadcasted on and off throughout the day at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) in Berkeley, California, overlooking the entire Bay Area. At the time, I was an educator at the LHS. Here's a short clip from when I was interviewed during a live, national broadcast about the different types of waves earthquakes produce and how scientists use that data to tell how far they are away from the center of the earthquake.