Communicating science and policy with non-science audiences is a vital skill for scientists and engineers today. AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows (STPF) launched the Sci on the Fly blog in 2013 to provide current and alumni fellows a platform to hone communication skills and educate readers on a broad swath of important issues. A few years later, the blog was expanded to include podcasts.
Here’s a look the latest blogs and podcasts – some of which touch on a common theme: pushing beyond boundaries.
Prior to her STPF fellowship, Leslie Brooks worked as a clinical veterinarian, but she found that she wanted to push the bounds of her career to help more than animals. She launched a nonprofit organization that supports people experiencing crises with their pets. As Leslie became involved in the local social services system, she realized that she wanted to make an even bigger impact. As a 2021-22 fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development, she has found a way to achieve that goal.
Caitlin Burgdorf, a 2021-22 fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), broadened her fellowship experience by volunteering at mohuman, a nonprofit founded by STPF alum fellow Nishal Mohan. The two connected at an STPF career summit, becoming a perfect example of a main purpose of the annual event: to help fellows build professional skills and contacts. While still a fellow at NIH, Caitlin arranged with the Ethics Office and her supervisor to add duties as mohuman’s “Federal Liaison” to her responsibilities.
Two recent podcasts explore the topic of science communication. In “Genes, germs, and science communication,” Bill Sullivan talks about his book “Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces That Make Us Who We Are.” In it, he emphasizes the importance of connecting with the audience and helping them understand the vital and interesting research scientists do. In “Beyond carbon neutral,” STPF alum fellow Sam Goodman, 2017-18 fellow at the U.S. Department of Defense, discusses his book, “Beyond Carbon Neutral: How We Fix the Climate Crisis Now,” which he wrote to help people who care about the environment understand what steps need to be taken, and why policy is a better approach than relying on technology only.