Shelley Sandiford

Founder, Sciconic Science Media

I was born/grew up in: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

I now live in: Ottawa, ON, Canada

I completed my training/education at: University of Waterloo

Describe what you do at work.

I describe myself as a science animator. I help businesses, organizations and scientists explain complicated concepts to their audiences. My work has a lot of variety to it, and it’s one of the reasons why I love it. I create art and animations so, some days, I’m reading and researching. Some days, I’m writing scripts. Others, I spend recording my voice. Others days, I create artwork and animate.

Everything I need is on my computer. I use special software to create art (Adobe Illustrator) and animate (Adobe After Effects).

My problem solving involves researching and creating a script that’s as short as possible (while still getting a message or information across).

Most of my decisions involve the editing process. Writing scripts is very challenging, and the script (believe it or not) is the most important part of the animation process. I usually have to work very closely with clients to get the length and contents of the script to a point where the message is clear and everyone’s happy.

I have science backgrounds in Exercise Science and Molecular Biology. Because my studies required that I read and understand fairly complicated subject matter, I’m able to understand a lot of the complicated words and jargon scientists sometimes use. Being able to understand what a scientist is trying to say is probably easier for me than for a lot of people.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

My mission has always been to get information into the hands of those who need most to hear it. There’s a lot of garbage on the internet today, and I believe scientists need a louder voice. If there’s anything I can do to help them get their messages out, I’m happy to do that.

What motivates you in your career?

I feel like a crusader at times. I’ve sort of made it my mission to help counteract all the misinformation out there (because there’s a lot of it). I’m motivated by getting the truth out, shedding light on the scientific process, and by helping scientists get their stories into the public eye. For me, the most enjoyable part is wrapping my head around the shear reach my company (and others like it) might have someday.

Mostly, I enjoy being able to combine my two passions, art and science. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to give entrepreneurship a shot at this point in my life.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I have a PhD in Exercise Science and, afterwards, I worked in as a scientist in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

When I decided to combine art with my science background, I took an online course to learn how to create 3D art as well as a night class on entrepreneurship. Other than that, I consider myself largely self-taught with my art since I have no formal art training.

Never in a million years did I set out to do what I do today! When I decided I wanted to move away from academia, I challenged myself to try a career that I’d really enjoy and be able to make a living at.

My biggest challenge right now is that most of the interest in my business is coming from outside science all together. I’m trying harder to target the kinds of people I’d ultimately like to be working with.

Mostly, I enjoy being able to combine my two passions, art and science. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to give entrepreneurship a shot at this point in my life.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I relax by spending time with my husband and our six year old daughter. I don’t do as much volunteering these days, but we used to be heavily involved in greyhound rescue. Best dogs ever! Physically, I’m a competitive powerlifter. Training also helps me relieve some stress.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Don’t ever be afraid to fail at something! Failure is how you learn and how you grow, so always be challenging yourself.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.



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