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”

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”

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”

One Scientist’s Attempt to Create a New Science Communication Platform

As someone who writes about science communication, I’m always interested in experiments designed to help people share information about research and research findings. Sometimes they are formal studies designed by science communication scholars, and sometimes they’re efforts by scientists, reporters or professional communicators to try something new and see how it works.

I work at NC State University, and in late 2015 met a postdoctoral researcher at NC State named Kamy Singer. His research focused on plant and microbial biology, but he was also the creator of a web platform called SPapers that aims to help researchers share their work more effectively. Continue reading “One Scientist’s Attempt to Create a New Science Communication Platform”

Black Girl Nerds: an Interview with Jamie Broadnax

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Jamie Broadnax is the founder of Black Girl Nerds (BGN), a blog and podcast that covers a lot of topics, many of which are related to entertainment and pop culture. But BGN also covers issues related to tech and STEM in general.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Broadnax about things like the creation of BGN, how she decides what issues to cover, how she balances pop culture and sci/tech, and the importance of diversity for STEM. Continue reading “Black Girl Nerds: an Interview with Jamie Broadnax”

The Peabody, Yale, and Natural History: an Interview with Richard Conniff

Photo courtesy of Richard Conniff.
Richard Conniff. Photo credit: Sally Pallotto.

I first visited the Peabody Museum of Natural History in the company of hundreds of science writers. The museum was hosting a social event for the annual conference of the National Association of Science Writers, which gave me the opportunity to explore its exhibits in the company of people who were exceptionally well-informed and gifted storytellers. It was the best possible introduction.

I visited again a few years later, this time in the company of family and friends. The enthusiasm our kids showed for the exhibits was contagious, as was my friend Jeff’s passion for discussing anything related to geology. I could have spent all day there. The Peabody, in my limited experience, is just that kind of place.

So, when I saw that Richard Conniff had written a book about the Peabody, House of Lost Worlds, I wanted to read it. And I had questions. Continue reading “The Peabody, Yale, and Natural History: an Interview with Richard Conniff”