There and back again – A science communicator and researcher’s tale

There and back again – A science communicator and researcher’s tale

Author: Yael Barel-Ben David – Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

This is a story of how I became a researcher in the field of science communication.

Participating in an Alan Alda center for communicating science workshop helped me put my zigzagged academic track into a story that may remind others on the importance of keeping an open mind, flexibility and knowing your audience.

I started my academic life in the field of Biology, studying towards my master’s degree in evolutionary development (AKA Evo. Devo.), conducting my own research, having a TA position and working in the Bloomfield science museum in Jerusalem. At that time, I was not aware of the field of science communication although I was practicing it almost every day. Through my work at the museum, I realized that I am more passionate talking about Biology than practicing it. I was lucky to discover an academic field that allows me to continue researching while at the same time trying to improve the way we talk about science, hoping that more will catch the ‘science bug’.

Moving from quantitative research in biology to mixed-methods research in science communication, adds another aspect to my current research – it allows me to uncover the depth of what the numbers pointed to. During my PhD research project on the effect of science communication training on scientists, I suddenly realized that I am part of my research population – I am also a scientist who undergone science communication training and felt its effect on me to the point of shifting my research interest. This gave me a new perspective on science communication research having tasted from all sides – as a STEM scientist, science communication practitioner, science communication researcher and member of the public, and left me knowing there is much more to be done in trying to bridge the gap between practice and research.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Speakers’ corner
Theme: Stories
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice