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We Are Here; Make Room: An Interview with Stephani Page

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The science, technology, engineering and math fields have a diversity problem: women and people of color are significantly underrepresented.

And while large institutions – from federal agencies to universities – are trying to address STEM diversity, a lot of the work is being done at the grassroots level.

One of those grassroots efforts was launched by Stephani Page, who spearheaded the creation of the #BlackAndSTEM online community in early 2014. Page, now a postdoctoral researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill, has a varied research background: a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s in biology from North Carolina A&T, and a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics from UNC.

I wanted to talk with her about the creation and evolution of #BlackAndSTEM, and how science communication can make a difference in STEM diversity.

Science Communication Breakdown: Your background is as a scientist, rather than a communicator. When did you start thinking seriously about science communication? Continue reading “We Are Here; Make Room: An Interview with Stephani Page”

Waving goodbye. Waving hello. Photo credit: Andrew Kruse. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

Goodbye, Old Blog – Hello, New Blog

Waving goodbye. Waving hello. Photo credit: Andrew Kruse. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Waving goodbye. Waving hello. Photo credit: Andrew Kruse. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

The original version of this blog was launched on a blog network called SciLogs, which announced earlier this month that it will be shutting down in September. This marks the end of Communication Breakdown, but the beginning of my new blog, Science Communication Breakdown – the blog that you are, in fact, reading right now. Continue reading “Goodbye, Old Blog – Hello, New Blog”

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Taking Science Experiments (and Kids) Outdoors: an Interview with Liz Heinecke

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Summer is here, and for parents (like me) who have school-age children, that means finding ways to keep the kids occupied. And if those activities help to instill a love of science, all the better. So, what better time for finding a book of outdoor science experiments for children?

Well, folks, you’re in luck. Continue reading “Taking Science Experiments (and Kids) Outdoors: an Interview with Liz Heinecke”

Photo credit: Viviana Parra Noriega. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

People Deem Feminine Women Less Likely to Be Scientists

Photo credit: Viviana Parra Noriega. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Viviana Parra Noriega. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

A paper published in the journal Sex Roles, reports that people think that the more feminine a woman is, the less likely she is to be a scientist. The same stereotype holds true for attractive people of either gender, the paper reports. Ugh.

The paper, “But You Don’t Look Like a Scientist!: Women Scientists With Feminine Appearance Are Deemed Less Likely to Be Scientists,” was published online Feb. 5. The paper was authored by Sarah Banchefsky, Bernadette Park and Charles M. Judd of the University of Colorado Boulder; and Jacob Westfall of the University of Texas at Austin. I’ll be offering an overview of the work here, but Continue reading “People Deem Feminine Women Less Likely to Be Scientists”

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One Reason Scientists and Science Writers Want to Talk About Game of Thrones

Photo credit: TaylorHerring. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: TaylorHerring. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

From dragons and dire wolves to the arid Red Waste and the frozen lands beyond the Wall, Game of Thrones is teeming with exotic creatures and habitats. It’s also teeming with violence, disease and cultural practices that often swing from pseudo-historical to utterly bizarre.

And, in an impressive collection of blog posts, there are scientists and science writers who want to talk about Game of Thrones and the world in which it takes place. Continue reading “One Reason Scientists and Science Writers Want to Talk About Game of Thrones”

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An Attempt to Outline What Constitutes ‘Valuable Journalism’

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Photo credit: Brighter Than Sunshine. Shared under a Creative Commons License. Click for more information.

Journalism is essential to having an informed public, and therefore to having healthy, representative government. But the news that people actually read, watch or listen to is often focused on entertainment, sports, or funny cat videos. So, what constitutes “valuable” journalism? Is it what people want? Or is it what people “need”? Continue reading “An Attempt to Outline What Constitutes ‘Valuable Journalism’”