The students of the Science, Health, & Medicine cohort recently organized and hosted a panel on science communication, with four women who share science in a variety of ways. Drs. Cara Gormally, Virginia Schutte, Maryam Zaringhalam, and Ami Zota discussed their journeys through science and the challenges they’ve faced, and why they have come to prioritize communication. The biggest takeaway for many students was the importance of sharing information, both between scientists and with the broader community. Read some of their reflections below.
The science communication panel discussion was very inspiring and helped me think about the connection between science and the real world today. Dr. Zaringhalam discussed that one of her biggest setbacks during her journey was “getting scooped.” She had worked on a study with all her effort but another researcher had published the same findings faster than she was able to. At that moment, all of her efforts and hard work felt useless, but she got back up again and decided to focus on research collaboration. She began to question why all researchers have to compete against each other when they can work together to produce something better. If every researcher competes with one another, it can slow down progress that could be helping people. I really agree with Dr. Zaringhalam that the purpose of science is to understand and create a better world. - Wonjeong Choi
Collaboration and communication are very important amongst scientists because of the benefit of knowledge exchange, and ‘open science’ is a collaborative effort between many scientists that are researching the same topic. Scientists can learn from each other’s mistakes and success in order to publish or create something useful for the next researcher that wishes to further their research. In the BCEENET butterfly research that I am conducting in my WLP biology class, communication and collaboration are extremely valuable. Talking amongst my peers, asking questions, sharing ideas, and ensuring that we make a space that is free of harsh judgement, has allowed my team to be very effective. - Taylor White
Dr. Zota’s comment about democratizing knowledge as a key part of science communication really struck me. I think she meant that science knowledge has to be spread across a wider proportion of the world population, and not just among a select few. Essentially, she wants to democratize knowledge so that all can understand the information that is important for their lives. For example, Dr. Zota talked about how she translates her papers into Spanish, enabling those that are not English-speaking to gain access to the same scientific knowledge. I firmly believe that we can all participate in our own way to democratize scientific knowledge. For instance, I think I can contribute in small ways, just by sharing the information I am able to learn through the privilege of having the opportunity to further my scientific education at the collegiate level. Through doing simple acts such as sharing relevant and important scientific information through my social media pages, I am spreading knowledge to others. - Jordyn Milou