One year Blogiversary – Blog Motivations, Recap, & A Big Announcement

blogiversary

The path to more research funding will not be paved by good science alone, it needs effective communication to convince the public why the science is good.

I think this statement best defines what I have tried to do with this blog; speaking to scientist and non-scientist, hoping to bridge the every growing gap between them. Let me qualify the statement by saying that this should not be at the detriment of doing good science at the bench, but as I pointed out in my State of the Scientific union, we scientists could do a better communicating. Ways like speak more to the why, use more analogies as your hook (a topic I will explore soon), work on that elevator speech, start at the top of the funnel with your discourse, and not be afraid to go speak to the youngins (2 & 3).

So far, this blogging journey has been great. I have discovered a wonderful, vast, and supportive scientific blogging and twitter community. I got to share my science journey on how I went from music to science (2 & 3) and talk about many conferences and papers. I have shared some stats about #BLACKandSTEM PhDs and even written a sciency comic parody to Let it Go.

There have been downs, but there have also been so many benefits. It has:

  • Led to features in the nature-affiliated scilogs.com – 1 & 2 – (things I can actually put on my C.V.).
  • Led to bringing in @kirkenglehardt to give a wonderful talk on synergizing social media and science.
  • Helped me find my science advocacy voice and given me the ability to communicate with a new cohort of people. Too many good communicators to list here.
  • Given me a unique access to tweeting microbiology professors (almost 100 and counting). I have found some great articles that way. Its like a wonderful news papers of headlines. Setting up pubmed alerts is another way to do it as outlined here.
  • GREATLY improved both my communication and writing skills. I have noticed it, people editing my manuscripts and grants have noticed it, and corresponding authors have noticed it. Two papers accepted this year so far (1 & 2) , one under review (sending it back soon), and one being written up right now.

So now that I have talked about what has motivated (or least kept me motivated in blogging) and done a bit of recap, now it is time for some big news.

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As you all know I have started a podcast. Science Sound Bites is a podcast designed to supplement middle and high school STEM curriculum. The set up is I interview a scientist about their research in layman’s terms, while interjecting terminology used in current science syllabi, thus giving their lessons real world scientific applications. Well, before I had people register to keep track and monitor who had access. I wanted to see if there was a demand. Well, I don’t need to do that any more because the podcast is moving to…

www.cure4kids.org/teachers

Cure4kids is the main educational outreach site for St. Jude. This is a great resource for teachers, kids, and people interested in science. Well, until the podcast goes on cure4kids.org, here is the link to all the podcast and the PowerPoint files. Yes, now it is all out there!!! Also, feel free to still register so I can let you know when I put out a new episode (which is generally the first of the month…hey that’s Thursday), and also get a head start and sign up for www.cure4kids.org/teachers as well.

To the thousands of you who have viewed my page, or the few of my friends and family that click to the home page multiple times a day (thanks mom), Thank you for reading this past year. Here’s to another year and good news along the way!! In the upcoming year, I will be job searching so plot thickens.

MDLJ

*Also, yes, I know the “elements” in blue are not real.

DNA Day Memphis 2015

Last year was the first DNA Day Memphis where St. Jude postdocs, outreach staff, and Rhodes College undergraduates went to Bellevue Middle School and took over one teacher’s classes for the day, and did interactive activities. This year, with an army of almost 20, we took over the entire school!!!

IMG_3211Throughout the 16 different science classes, we extracted DNA, did a genetic wheel, and also some additional experiments to help the students on their upcoming TCAP standardized test. As always, the students were very receptive, loved the activities, and expressed a desire for us (scientists) to come into the schools more often. The look on their faces when they extracted their own DNA was priceless, and it led to some very interesting questions on ways scientist use DNA, how DNA affects cancer, and many more.

Of the people that went out as DNA Day Ambassadors, many of them expressed just as much joy in participating as the kids did in doing the experiments. This, and many other outreach opportunities are important. Not necessarily to make future scientist, but to make future science appreciators.

MDLJ