Another face of the Biological Sciences – Another face of the Biological Sciences Investigating the outcomes of working on Science Popularization projects as an undergraduate student in the professional choice

Author: Monica Bucciarelli Rodriguez, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Co-authors:: Juliana Santos Botelho, Adlane Vilas-Boas

A graduation in Biology provides students with a choice in their career as scientists, teachers and education consultants, for instance. However, science communication is often seen as a minor activity of specialization for university students especially because laboratory and field investigations may be more appealing during this period. This work aims to investigate the professional choices of undergraduate biology students who had an opportunity to work in projects of science communication and popularization while at the University. Our assumption is that experience during undergraduate education may determine professional choices. What are the positive and negative aspects about working in science communication and popularization projects? In what ways do people think this experience may have changed them? To evaluate the impact of science communication experiences on their professional career choices, we decided to survey a sample of 40 former or current students. All of them were involved in a specific science communication project, which exists now for over 10 years at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The project, called “Science for reading and listening” (“Ciência para ler e ouvir”), deals mostly with texts produced for the radio and distributed in metropolitan buses and over the Internet. The undergraduate students involved were mainly from the Biological Sciences, but also from Communication and Arts. By using semi-structured interviews, we aimed to analyze the perception of their experiences and the impact on the professional choices and views of career opportunities both in present or former participants. The questions scrutinized a number of subjects, including their original motives for working in Science popularization and possible changes in their view of Science and professional opportunities in this field.

Supported by FAPEMIG